TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Flu season typically hits during the cold months of the year, but due to COVID-19, illnesses are affecting people during their regular seasons.
With social distancing, masks and other COVID-19 safety measures, people have not been exposed to influenza as in standard years.
“Well, COVID has had an interesting effect because people have been socially distancing and masking, and we’ve seen a marked decrease in the number of influenza cases,” said Dr. Charles Lerner, a consultant to the Texas Medical Association Committee on Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Lerner is an infectious diseases specialist doctor in San Antonio.
Another impact the pandemic had on the flu season is the number of people who got their flu shot last year.
Sonny Krezdorn is a pharmacist and owner of the Rose City Pharmacy in Tyler.
“People were serious about getting their flu vaccine last year because of the fear of COVID, so we did see an increase in the demand for flu vaccine at least compared to the last years,” Krezdorn said.
However, considering how overwhelmed hospitals are, health experts mentioned it is important for people to get their flu shots this year more than ever.
“Right now, with COVID flaring up and being real bad, if you got a bad case of the flu, you would probably be competing for space at the doctor’s office, the emergency rooms, the hospitals,” Krezdorn said.
Dr. Lerner stated that if someone has influenza, they will be considered to have COVID unless proven otherwise.
According to the CDC, anyone six months of age and older should get their flu shot every season. People can receive flu and COVID vaccines at the same time.
“You can get shot, it’s real easy, and you can avoid that scenario,” said Krezdorn.
Rose City Pharmacy is administering flu shots beginning on Monday.