Experts say the flu may be making a comeback this winter

Health

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Before the pandemic, the flu was the dominant winter illness, but in 2020 it was almost non-existent. Flu season has had a slow start, but according to a specialist, a spike might be on the way. 

“Currently about three in three quarters of the visits to the ER for influenza like illnesses are actually test out to be flu. So it’s pretty low, so a little bit above last year which was a very strange anomaly. We had hardly flu season at all.”  said Russell Hopkins, director of NET Health disease surveillance division. 

Hopkins said the flu is hard to predict for 2021 and 2022, but they are planning for the worst. 

“We still would expect the peak to be January 10th ish, somewhere around there, and we will see how it plays out, but there are a lot of mitigating factors that just make a prediction hard,” Hopkins said.

In 2020, health officials saw certain strains of the flu go almost extinct, but with more people out, this illness is making a comeback. Russell said you may need to get the flu shot a little later than usual. 

“I would say overall we are up 20%, 25% as far as flu shots are concerned at this point than we were last year.” said Shawn Sams, pharmacist and owner of Louis Morgan drugs #4.

Pharmacies may be having a hard time stocking the flu shots, but experts say to keep trying. 

“What was out on the market a lot of it has been sold, and so we are having to reach out to some other resources and manufactures, wholesalers to try to find vaccines because luckily the community is still actively getting vaccinated, said Sams. 

Making sure you wash your hands, stay home when you aren’t feeling well, and even wearing a mask are other precautions to take to help prevent the flu. 

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