Health experts worry as flu season approaches

Flu season is right around the corner in the midst of our country dealing with the delta variant. A year ago, doctors said the number of flu infections decreased globally because of the precautions we took against COVID-19.

This is because a year ago we were still wearing masks, social distancing and staying at home. Now that many of those restrictions have been lifted, Dr. Rebekah Bernard believes this flu season will be different.

Avoiding the “twindemic” is the messaging from doctors again this year. This is as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals are filling up. Not to mention that flu season is just around the corner.

“If we’re still in our increase in cases and still in the spike with the delta wave and we see influenza start to creep in as well, then I think that’s going to be stressful for our health care system,” Bernard said.

Bernard is with Gulf Coast Primary Care and says that with more people traveling, the likelihood that America could see a spike in flu cases will increase.

And the beginning of flu season is coming at a critical point in our fight against COVID-19. Over the next few months, people will begin rolling up their sleeves to receive the coronavirus booster shot.

Others will roll up their sleeves as well but for their yearly flu shot. But is this safe? Dr. Bernard believes the CDC will say that people can have both in such a short timeframe.

“They’re probably going to want to prioritize making sure patients get their flu shots. And not wanting anyone to wait too long and increase the chances of them getting the flu,” she said.

To prevent even more strain on hospitals, Dr. Bernard wants to urge everyone to stay safe as the delta variant continues to wreak havoc. “We’re a high-risk area right now in Southwest Florida based on the numbers. So, my advice would be, follow those CDC guidelines and continue to practice physical distancing, mask up when indoors,” Bernard said.

Officials expect that the FDA will give full approval for the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, August 23. Dr. Bernard hopes that will result in more people getting vaccinated.

Reporter:Zach Oliveri
Writer:Drew Hill
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