After some time off, flu season is back

Combined with COVID, the flu could see a resurgence this year and brings the potential for a double infection.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The flu may have taken 2020 off, but it’s back and potentially more dangerous than ever. Luckily, fighting the flu is essentially the same as it’s always been.

Dr. Maureen Tierney, assistant dean for Public Health and Clinical Research at Creighton School of Medicine puts it simply: “As soon as you can get the flu shot, get it. There’s already some flu circulating at low levels.”

As far as preventing the flu through your health habits goes, you’re likely already taking some of those steps.

“Masks actually work really well to prevent influenza. Social distancing works well”, explains Dr. Tierney. “Some of the things that we’re doing to prevent COVID transmission are even more effective at preventing influenza transmission.”

That’s something of a two-edged sword this year because last year’s lack of a flu season could change things now that mask mandates are by and large being removed.

Dr. Tierney thinks we could see a resurgence. “The fact that we didn’t have flu circulating last year, so very few people got it. Does that decrease the amount of circulating immunity that we have?”

That could put people at risk for double infection since COVID is very active. COVID presents another new challenge for flu season, too: Vaccine hesitancy.

“Will some of that spill over and some people who previously got their flu shot not get their flu shot this year?” asks Dr. Tierney. “I think getting the message out about how important flu vaccination is, how safe it is, is really important.”

That’s particularly true this year. So stay smart, stay home if you need to, and stay healthy.

Categories: Coronavirus, Health, News