FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Every year, Influenza comes back to affect our communities. Preparing for flu season can be difficult. Some years, the Influenza strains are mild, other years they’re severe.
Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter says we can look to the Southern Hemisphere flu season happening now to get an idea of how ours will go.
"So far, the information from the Southern Hemisphere is that they had a relatively mild flu season. So, that would be encouraging, that maybe this could be a milder flu season," Sutter explained. "However, we can’t take that for granted because while that tends to follow, it’s not always the case."
It’s not always the case because Influenza changes quickly, so the strains we see here could be different. This year, we have to account for COVID-19.
"We now have two dangerous respiratory viruses circulating. It could be a much worse season because of that," Sutter said.
It could be much worse because of compounding symptoms will take an extra harsh toll on the body.
To try to stop yourself from getting the flu, you’re encouraged to get your vaccine. Connie Heflin, executive director of Supershot says the sooner the better.
Heflin explained, "You want to typically get your flu immunizations by the end of October, but at least by Thanksgiving because it takes about two weeks for your body to build up the immunity against the flu. So, you really just want to get protected before it’s really circulating in the community."
Heflin and Sutter say that the CDC have ramped up flu vaccine production, so there should be plenty for the upcoming season, and Sutter says we can lessen the effects of the flu by doing what we’re doing right now.
"The good news is the things we do to control covid-19 are the same things that control the flu. So, flu is a respiratory virus, just like COVID-19, so wearing masks, social distancing, good hand-washing, staying home when you’re sick are all really helpful things to limit the flu season just the way it limits covid-19," Sutter said.
Heflin says Supershot will have the flu vaccines in their clinic this week and some big box pharmacies already have some supply, but we won’t know the effectiveness of the vaccine until well into the season.
You can learn more about the symptoms of Influenza and COVID-19 here.