Public health officials are preparing for re-emergence of flu season

(ABC 6 News) – COVID-19 may be the most prominent virus of concern in the United States now, but public health officials are also preparing for seasonal influenza.

According to Dr. Abinash Virk, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic, indications are it could be a different flu season than what the U.S. has experienced the past two years.

Dr. Virk says states like Minnesota and Wisconsin will see the re-emergence of influenza this winter mostly in-part because people have largely stopped wearing masks and distancing, versus in 2020 when masking and distancing were more common which led to a steep drop in influenza rates.

Dr. Virk encourages people to seek out influenza vaccinations when they become available in their local community.

For Mayo Clinic patients age 6 months and older, the flu vaccine will be offered in one of three ways. To view them, CLICK HERE.

Seasonal influenza, like COVID-19, is a contagious respiratory illness that disproportionately affects adults ages 65 and older. However, they are not the same viruses. The similarity and differences of the two viruses also means it can be difficult to discern between the two when the symptoms overlap. 

All people over the age of 6 months are encouraged to get their flu vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends people are vaccinated for flu by the end of October to ensure they are fully vaccinated for the influenza season.

The CDC also recommends that those 65 and older receive higher-dose, including high-dose and recombinant vaccinations, or adjuvanted flu vaccinations over standard-dose unadjuvanted flu vaccinations. 

The CDC says If you become sick with the flu, you also can help prevent the spread of the flu by staying home and away from others. Continue staying home until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours.