With most restrictions lifted, experts say we’ll soon experience the return of cold and flu season with COVID-19 in the mix.
2022 could be a bad flu year, here’s why:
Pandemic restrictions, social distancing and masking helped keep flu infection rates low.
Now in 2022, with many things returning to normal, experts are warning of a variety of potential scenarios this upcoming flu season.
The possibility of multiple viruses, potentially overlapping at different points in the fall and winter are high. We could have COVID-19 and flu infections rising in lockstep – dubbed a “twindemic” by some scientists. Or there’s a chance that the flu will come back with a vengeance as immunity has likely decreased in the last few years of the pandemic.
Cues from Australia’s flu season
While it may be too early to predict which scenario is likely, if Australia’s spike in COVID-19 and flu cases is any indication of what’s to come, we may be bracing for a bad flu season.
Australia’s “twindemic” was characterized by an alarming spike in COVID-19 and the worst flu infections in recent years. Data from Australia’s Department of Health and Aged Care show infections were higher than the five-year average with infections notably spiking, then dropping, earlier than usual.
Tips for preventing the flu
In any of these scenarios, the flu is sure to cause disruptions in individual’s lives and lead to absenteeism across a wide variety of sectors.
The best way to avoid getting the flu is to get your annual flu shot. Good health habits are also a great way to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu:
- Wash your hands often
- Cover your mouth with either a tissue or your upper arm/sleeve when you cough or sneeze
- If you are feeling unwell, regardless of a negative test, you should isolate and take steps to reduce transmission, which could mean skipping social events or working from home
- Get the flu shot
- Schedule a flu clinic at your workplace
Protecting yourself and others
The demand for flu shots will be high this year so plan ahead to get your flu shot as soon as possible. It is especially important to protect yourself and your co-workers as the flu is able to spread very quickly and easily in the workplace. Talk to you organization about setting up a workplace flu clinic. Spectrum Health Care offers onsite workplace flu clinics to help prevent the flu from spreading.
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