Remember the flu? It’s an annual virus that circulated around the world making millions sick and killing others. But as most people retreated indoors during the pandemic, cases of the flu went way down.
But now people are venturing back out, and that means the flu will be back in full swing. And after a year off, some experts expect it to be back with a vengeance.
The best and the first line of defense against the flu is a flu shot. Flu shots may not necessarily prevent the flu, but they reduce its power. People who receive the shot typically experience fewer symptoms, stay sick for less time, and are highly unlikely to require hospitalization.
The flu poses the biggest threat to young children and adults 65 and over. Immunocompromised people are also at high risk.
High-dose or adjuvanted vaccines are recommended for those 65 and older. They offer better protection and reduce the likelihood of an infection.
Another way to prevent the flu is to wash your hands regularly. Unlike COVID-19, the flu virus (as well as the common cold) is transmissible through surfaces. That means it survives on door handles, taps, rails, and other high-touch surfaces.
To limit transmission through touching, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly upon arriving at destinations and returning home.
Flu cases also increase during the winter because people are inside, likely one of the reasons numbers were down last year. When you’re packed inside with people, the risk for illness goes up.
It’s likely that those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 may be planning to spend time with larger groups as the temperatures drop. Holidays and other events with friends and family will increase your risk for flu, and a COVID vaccine won’t protect against it.
If you’re planning on spending time with people indoors this fall and winter, a flu vaccine is highly recommended to prevent illness.
The flu will be back this year, and it may potentially be a very strong strain. Do your best to protect yourself.