Because Australia nears the end of its flu season just as flu season starts in the U.S. each year, it regularly serves as a guidepost for what we can expect as flu cases ramp up through the fall and winter. This year, Australia struggled with a particularly severe flu season on the heels of declining public health precautions as COVID restrictions like social distancing, masking, and vaccination requirements are fading. Here’s a preview of what we might expect in the U.S. during flu season this year.

An Early Flu Season Peak

Australia’s flu season came on earlier than usual and peaked sooner than usual as well. That means that getting the flu shot as soon as possible is essential. If you typically wait until November or December to get your flu shot or skip it altogether, you might bump up your vaccine appointment this year. However, it’s still better to get your shot later in the season than not at all. You can get your flu vaccine alongside your next COVID booster for extra protection headed into the fall.

More Hospitalizations

The last few years have presented milder flu seasons, a trend largely attributed to COVID precautions that have reduced the spread of all respiratory illnesses—think hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing, and more frequent sanitation of shared spaces. A sharp increase in flu cases is likely to lead to more hospitalizations. For those who are unvaccinated, there’s a greater risk of severe illness from the flu virus.

For guidance on scheduling your flu shot or immediate care when you’re feeling sick this flu season, count on MeMD. Find affordable, convenient care without leaving home. Request a visit today.  

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