How bad will flu season be and when should you get vaccinated?

  • This year’s US flu season could be bad given what has happened in Australia.
  • It’s a good idea to get the flu vaccine in October or November.
  • And strategically masking colds and flu season can make a huge difference.

With the flu season approaching in the United States, the rumors of potential “twindemic” brewing are starting to emerge again.

“It could be this year,” Vanderbilt infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner said in an interview with NPR on Friday, “we have a surge in COVID and an increase in flu incidence at the same time.”

One of the main reasons infectious disease experts are particularly concerned this year is that the 2022 flu season in Australia has been quite bad, and what happens during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter flu wave often heralds the flu season well. in Usa.

Australia's flu case chart year on year, with 2022 looking bad

Australian Department of Health

Leading virologist Florian Krammer says it is a bit early to say there will be a dose this season.

“Obviously the flu can come back stronger than usual because there is a lot of naive substrate around,” he told Insider, referring to people who may not have had the flu in recent years, or not at all, in the case of young children. .

Here are two simple remedies that Krammer uses for preparation.

Do not get the flu vaccine too early, but get it by the end of November

Krammer, who lives in New York, where anti-flu activity is currently low, said he plans to wait until the end of November to get vaccinated this year.

“I always do this and I’m not going to quit this year,” he said.

Other experts agree that the best time to get a flu shot is usually October or November, as optimal protection typically lasts four to six months and the flu season can last until spring. Last year, “the season has dragged on for a really long time,” said Krammer, and he wants to maximize his protection.

Even in June, many alleged cases of influenza were still recorded in states including Colorado, Florida, and Washington:

USA map showing spring flu activity- with bad spots scattered across

CDC flu view

But if you live in an area of ​​a country where the flu is already getting worse, such as Texas or DC, it may be wise to get the flu vaccine sooner than later:

USA map showing flu activity now - with cases in Texas, DC

CDC flu view

The good news is that this year’s flu shot should fit well with what’s going on around there: a lot of type A flu.

The vaccination will be especially important for young children under 3 years of age who may not have been exposed to the flu virus in their life.

Clever masking can make the flu go away

Fortunately, the flu is “relatively easy to contain” compared to COVID, Krammer said, staying home when we are sick and disguising himself in places where other people may be sick.

“That’s why I think it’s a good idea to wear masks during winter or winter time, right?” he added. After all, during the 2020-2021 flu season, when most people were still wearing masks to avoid COVID, the flu was almost gone.

“You’re kind of avoiding a lot of things,” said Krammer. “Honestly, personally, I will definitely wear the mask on the subway and planes in the cold season for sure from now on.”

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