What to expect this upcoming flu season

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 8:34 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - You probably didn’t hear too much about the flu last year, since the pandemic overshadowed the usual fall viruses. But flu season is just around the corner and local doctors are reminding everyone to go get their shot.

Physicians at Nation’s Best Family Health Care in Panama City said they haven’t seen anyone coming in with the flu quite yet, but that they know it probably won’t be long before they do.

With COVID-19 cases continuing to surge across many places, Dr. Roman Nation with Nation’s Best said a lot of people are taking COVID tests at home thinking their symptoms are related to the pandemic rather than the flu.

But with the flu season moving in fast, Dr. Nation has been urging people to understand the severity of the situation.

“The worst possible thing that can happen if a person is not vaccinated against either one, is to actually get COVID on top of the flu. Which would be pretty lethal,” Dr. Nation said.

Dr. Nation said it’s a terrifying situation that people can help protect themselves from by getting vaccinated against both the flu and COVID.

Last year’s flu case numbers were some of the country’s lowest.

“They estimated only about 35,000 to 40,000 people died from flu. Normally we have between 60,000 to 80,000 people that die from flu every year,” Dr. Nation said.

Dr. Nation said there’s also a good chance 2020 flu numbers were so low because of all the COVID-19 precautions. People were staying home, washing their hands more, social distancing, and wearing masks. But with restrictions loosening up, he said flu cases will rise up.

Nation said this virus isn’t a joke.

“Lots of folks can actually get flu and end up with long-term problems that affect their heart, or their brain, or their spine,” Dr. Nation said.

Medical experts are reminding everyone to go and get their vaccine, sooner rather than later. The flu shot is available virtually everywhere to those 6 months and older.

The flu season in Florida usually begins around October and runs through May.

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