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Will the seasonal flu return this year?

Last year was an unprecedented year for many reasons. COVID hit Chicago early in the year, which made working from home the norm and face coverings a part of our daily fashion. As a result, we had a surprisingly nonexistent flu season in 2020. Will that continue to be the case during the 2021/22 season? Likely not according to Dr. Khare. Here’s what he has to say about the upcoming flu season, including when he expects to see activity start, why you should get a flu vaccine and more. 

Q: Will the seasonal flu return this year?

A: Yes, I expect to see flu activity again this season. There are many reasons for this. Adults are coming back to work, kids are back in school, sporting events and theatre are back and quite frankly, people are ready to be out and about again. In addition, mask guidelines are less stringent in many places. Simply put, more interaction between people and less virus precautions will equal greater spread of viruses, including flu. 

Q: Why didn’t we have a flu season in 2020? 

A: In 2020, the majority of people stayed home more than ever before. They worked from home, they ordered groceries, they opted for carryout versus dining out, and schools had numerous virus mitigations including remote learning. All of these measures led to a decrease in flu activity, and fewer illnesses overall, including common things such as strep throat and the common cold. 

Q: Who should be vaccinated for the flu?

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six-months of age and older, unless you are allergic. It is especially important for high-risk individuals, which include infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly, as well as those with underlying health conditions. 

Q: When is the best time to get your flu shot? 

A: I advise patients to get their flu shot by early November so they are protected by Thanksgiving. We generally see flu activity ramp up by late November, with activity continuing through March. There is no reason for a “wait and see” approach, as the flu vaccine carries

Innovative Care offers flu shots at our urgent care clinic daily. You may also get your flu vaccine during visits with our primary care providers, or when you come for a COVID test.