SAN ANTONIO – We’ve usually moved on from the flu in late April and are more focused on pollen allergies and other circulating viruses. However, this year is different.
“We are seeing ongoing flu activity. If you look at CDC FluView, it’s overall low for the United States, but it’s increased a little bit from the week before,” said Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease expert with University Health and UT Health San Antonio.
Bowling said a COVID-19 ripple effect is to blame.
“When we were doing all the measures, the public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID, that’s effective against influenza as well -- so wearing a mask, people not traveling as much, avoiding large crowds,” Bowling said.
As those public health measures relaxed, people became vulnerable to viruses like the flu that they hadn’t been exposed to in a while.
“They haven’t had a vaccine or haven’t had a flu infection in a while. We have a lot of susceptible people,” Bowling said.
He said if you’re immunocompromised, keep wearing your mask.
“Wash your hands well. Be careful in large crowds,” Bowling instructed.
He also said if you feel sick with a fever and body aches and took a COVID-19 test that resulted as negative, you could have the flu.
Schedule a visit with your doctor, and make sure to ask for a flu test.
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