AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Health experts predict this upcoming winter will be bad for influenza.
Early indicators from the southern hemisphere show health experts that the upcoming flu season will be a tough one.
“[We look at the southern hemisphere of the world] Countries like Argentina and Australia and sort of use that as a guide for our flu season. This past winter they had heavy severity and volume of flu,” said Elisa Polania, Nurse Practitioner, CVS Minute Clinic.
Dr. Rodger MacArthur, who works in Infectious Diseases at Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University added, “Anticipate seeing more cases than we’re used to, but that doesn’t mean a whole bunch.”
Health experts say now is the time to get the vaccine, hoping most get a shot by October when flu season starts and before it peaks in February. Dr. MacArthur told us while it does not come from the cold, winter is when it’s prevalent.
“In decreased humidity the virus travels farther,” he said.
The Minute Clinic in CVS is one place people can go to stop the flu in its tracks, something you have when you experience some of what the CDC describes as fever, cough, muscle or body aches or fatigue.
Polania told us, “It’s a new vaccine every year and that’s because the flu virus can mutate and it changes.”
She also told us you can still get the flu with the vaccine, but it would not be as severe. And for those hoping it protects against other viruses also spreading such as COVID-19 it does not.
“Everybody six months and older should get the shot. Most important are the very young and very old. So kids less than 5 years of age. The elderly adults above 65,” she said.
The Minute Clinic in CVS is offering flu shots now. And health experts add the best protection is covering your mouth and using good hand hygiene.
More information, including the ability to schedule a vaccination clinic, is available at https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/flu/clinics.