Social distancing and masking may reduce effects of flu season, doctor says


AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) – As COVID-19 continues to affect people around the world, some doctors are starting to think about the flu season and what to expect in the winter.

Dr Wenger said things like masking, social distancing and good hygiene can help lessen the effects of the flu on the valley.(WHSV)

“Last year the presence of influenza in the community was very low, in fact across the country it was very low, and that was largely due to masking, social distancing, displacement. restricted, businesses and schools going virtual, ”said Dr. John Wenger, director of medical operations at Sentara RMH.

Wenger said it was difficult to know what the flu season would look like as community health standards, like masking and social distancing, change.

“I think we can see a little more flu just because people are a little less isolated,” he said.

Wenger said that, as always, flu shots will be essential for staying healthy. Like the COVID-19 vaccine, influenza vaccines are not 100% effective, but reduce the chances of getting sick or having a severe case.

Since the effectiveness of the shot fades over time, you need to postpone the shot until the fall, even though it’s available now.

“I think, especially with our older people, maybe it looks more like the end of September, the beginning of October can be beneficial in terms of a bit longer duration,” Wenger said.

Many people will be ready for their COVID-19 booster shots around flu season, and Wenger said it’s safe to get both at once and you should do what’s convenient.

“The CDC officially recommends that the flu vaccine and the COVID vaccine can be given simultaneously,” he said.

Wenger said that previously the CDC had said it did not receive other vaccines around the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine. Now they’ve done more research and said it’s safe. However, he said everyone should do what they think is best.

“If someone had a small reaction to the COVID vaccine, like feeling sick for a few hours or a day or so, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take them a week or two apart just to alleviate that,” Wenger mentioned. .

Wenger said good hygiene, masking, social distancing and vaccination will be factors in this flu season.

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