By Elspeth Mizner
ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – We are ramping up for flu season and health officials warn that this flu season could be more severe than recent years.
As Epidemiologist and Erie News Now Contributor Dr. Becky Dawson explained, “There’s no such thing as it’s just a sore throat or it’s just the sniffles anymore.”
This comes as health officials monitor flu trends across the globe.
“It was a really hard flu season in the Southern Hemisphere, more cases, more severe disease, more hospitalizations associated with the influenza virus and so if we use the people six months ahead of us as any indication it probably will be a rough flu season”, said Dr. Dawson.
This year’s flu season comes at a time where many people may not have been exposed to the virus for a few years. As Dawson explained, “Most of us haven’t experienced flu, been exposed to flu, done anything with flu in about two years, so usually you may get flu annually, but your body does recognize it better.”
But when is the best time to get that layer of protection? Dawson said it’s coming up, “Around Halloween or Halloween week is probably the perfect time, so you have that immunity, that immune memory throughout the influenza season.”
While the flu can prey on anyone, Dawson said the young and the old are the most at risk. “Anybody who’s 65 and older or has a pre-existing condition that makes them more susceptible to respiratory diseases, should go get their influenza shot. I think kids in elementary school especially, influenza spreads in school, we know those kids are going to be spending more recesses inside, they are going to be spending more classroom time inside so they should go and get it as well. Influenza usually attacks the young and the old the hardest.”
If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, LECOM has flu shot clinics every Tuesday from 9 am until 7 pm and Fridays from 9 am until 5pm at LECOM’s Center for Successful Aging on Schaper Avenue.