The flu season has been a low-impact event for the last couple of years due to COVID-19 prevention simultaneously controlling flu cases. Mask-wearing and social distancing both proved effective in reducing the severity of flu season by as much as 75%, with only a quarter of flu cases being reported in 2021 vs 2019.
However, now that COVID-19 prevention measures have relaxed, the flu is predicted to shoot back up to its usual prominence for the 2022 season. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about preparing for the flu this winter.
What is the flu?
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Most people don’t consider exactly what kind of flu is “the flu” in any given season. The most common virus in the United States for this season is going to be influenza type A, strain H3N2. It has previously dominated cases in Australia and South America.
The presence of this particular strain of flu means that the elderly will be particularly vulnerable. This is because H3N2 causes greater rates of fatal infections in older adults in comparison to other flu strains. Widely available flu vaccines are also less effective against this variant.
This makes it more important than ever to prevent flu cases any way you can, especially if you are close to any elderly or high-risk individuals, such as those with compromised immune systems or pregnant women.
4 Ways to Prepare for Flu Season 2022
As we move into the fall and winter months when flu runs rampant, we want to arm you with these 4 ways to prepare for and prevent the flu.
- Flu shots are your friend
Though flu shots are not as effective against this influenza strain, those who are eligible should still get the vaccine if they haven’t already. The flu shot is medical science’s best defense against the spread of the flu and prevents severe sickness even in those who get it.
- COVID vaccines are still important
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COVID vaccines are important as well since those who are vulnerable to the flu are likely also vulnerable to COVID. The viruses can be contracted at the same time and can populate the same areas so it’s important to be up to date on your vaccines and boosters.
- Mask up
Masks, especially those that have been tested for efficient filtration of micro-organisms, are as preventative against the flu as they are against COVID. If you are in a high-risk area or just want to be careful, you can reduce the risk of transmission with a good mask.
- Treat early
Early treatment is key to keeping you and your family safe. The flu doesn’t have a common at-home test, but at-home COVID tests can rule it out if you’re feeling sick. Seek a doctor’s treatment promptly if you think you have the flu to avoid complications.
The world has largely forgotten about the flu due to COVID dominating the media space for the last two years. However, with COVID restrictions relaxed, the flu is likely to make a major comeback in the winter of 2022. Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe from this potentially dangerous illness.
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