MILWAUKEE - The holiday season, when family and friends gather, is also an opportunity for germs to spread as people come together indoors. There are concerns and cautions from health experts who predict this flu season may be unlike any other.
After more than 18 months of taking precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19, things are slowly reopening. Dr. Ernest Grant says fewer mandates mean fewer precautions.
"People are not washing their hands frequently," he said. "We are not waiting at 6 feet apart, and in some cases, they are not wearing a mask, as well, so it’s creating the perfect storm of what we’re anticipating is a ‘twindemic,’ that being a flu epidemic as well as a continuation of COVID-19."
Concerned about a potentially worse flu season than last year as there is already an increase in cases, the president of the American Nurses Association is urging people to protect themselves and others.
"People fail to realize you can actually die from the flu," said Dr. Grant. "It may result in being hospitalization or death, as well, and people who may have a compromised immune system, other comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, particularly people who may have asthma or respiratory problems," said Dr. Grant.
Doctors say flu vaccines are the best defense against the seasonal flu.
"They can minimize the potential they would have severe complications," said Dr. Grant.
While anyone can get the flu, Grant says some racial and ethnic minority groups are also at higher risk, as well as adults 50 and older and pregnant women.
"Usually, they may have a more severe form of the flu than people who may be otherwise healthy," he said.
So far in 2021, similar to 2020, there have been zero flu-related deaths. Health experts hope with mitigation efforts, that can remain the case.
For more information and details on how to make a flu vaccine appointment in your area, CLICK HERE.