Health officials anticipate more flu cases this year, urging everyone to get vaccinated soon

Health officials anticipate more flu cases this year, urging everyone to get vaccinated soon
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 5:16 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Flu cases are already on the rise this year, with health experts expecting to see an increase in cases through the colder months.

New Hanover County’s Assistant Health Director Carla Turner says the biggest concern for this flu season is that people are not taking precautions like they were last year at the height of the pandemic. Turner says because there are no mask mandates and people have stopped social distancing that it would be no surprise that we will see a higher number of cases.

Health officials typically look to the southern hemisphere and how their flu season peaked to determine how it might impact populations in the northern hemisphere. This year, there was reportedly a higher number of flu cases there — because of this, health experts are urging everyone to get their flu vaccines as soon as possible.

“For anybody, if you’re not feeling well, we’d ask that you’re not going to work and that you’re not going to school, and that you stay home until you feel better,” Turner said. “Because that’s another good way to keep from spreading it in the community,” Turner said. “Flu viruses are quite unstable, and the genetic makeup of them changes a bit all the time just because of their inherent instability. So, the different strains that the vaccines were made to fight this year are tweaked a little bit from what they were last year. So, how much overlap or memory might there be from previous flu vaccines? There can be some, but you also have to remember that the effectiveness of vaccines tends to really decrease after about six months.”