Health officials warn of dangerous flu season

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 11:24 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 11:54 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - They’re worried hospitals could become more overwhelmed than they already are.

The CDC is already reporting cases of the flu in Kentucky and Indiana, and health experts fear this could be the start to a rough flu season.

Madeline Moses, from Mathes Pharmacy in New Albany, said people only seem to be thinking about the COVID-19 vaccine, not the flu shot.

Moses is setting up flu clinics and said now is the time to plan your shot. The CDC recommends people get it in September or October.

“Your immunity is strongest a couple weeks after the vaccine,” she explained. “You want to have your strongest immunity when the flu is really taking off.”

Last year delivered record-low numbers, but early studies show the upcoming flu season could be a tough one as mask restrictions are lifted and people return to normal life. Some predictions show the U.S. could see about 20 percent more flu cases than normal, and a worst-case scenario, there could be double the amount of flu cases than a typical year.

The potential cases could come at a bad time as COVID hospitalizations are at their highest.

Moses said the flu vaccine could help ease the burden on hospitals.

“If you are inoculated or you do get the flu, your body already knows how to fight it,” Moses said. “So, you are less likely to have a severe sickness with it. You might still get it, but it shouldn’t be as severe as it would had you not gotten your vaccine.”

She added that she hopes the extra attention to health will lead to an increase in flu vaccinations, like she saw last year.

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