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What to Know: Avoiding a Flu Comeback this Winter

September 29, 2022

Precautions to prevent COVID-19 also have helped to reduce the spread of the flu, and public health leaders are urging everyone to take action to continue the positive trends this winter.

Respiratory viruses tend to spread more frequently in the fall and winter, so October is the perfect time to get vaccinated against the flu, said Kristina A. Bryant, MD, FAAP, lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new policy statement on the influenza vaccine.

“This is a busy time for most families, with the start-up of school, sports and other favorite activities, like socializing with friends,” Dr. Bryant said. “Getting the flu vaccine helps protect everyone and allows for less disruption caused by illness. Don’t let the flu stop you this season.”

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the flu season.

  • A clear recommendation:  With only a few exceptions, annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.
  • How it works:  The vaccine does not offer full protection against infection, but it significantly decreases your chances of having severe illness or requiring hospital care due to the virus.
  • Hints from afar:  The flu season is hard to forecast, but public health leaders monitor other parts of the world for clues about what lies ahead. Australia and other countries in the Southern Hemisphere faced severe flu seasons this season and offer another reason to get vaccinated.
  • Take action on both vaccines:  If you are eligible, you can receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza vaccine during the same appointment.
  • Quotable:  “We should not underestimate the flu, especially when other respiratory viruses like COVID-19 are circulating within our communities,” Dr. Bryant said.

HAP joins organizations around the country urging everyone who is eligible to receive the flu vaccine and to follow the proper public health precautions to limit the spread of the virus, such as handwashing and staying home when sick. Getting vaccinated is an important step to protect yourself, your family, and your community.

More information about the flu shot for children and adults is available online.

For more information about the upcoming flu season, contact Mary T. Catanzaro, RN, BSMT (ASCP), CIC, FAPIC, project manager, infection prevention, or Lauren Geary, BS, RRT-NPS, CIC, project manager, infection prevention.