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Flu in 2020-21

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Typically, the winter months bring the peak of flu season. As cases of COVID-19 have soared in the U.S. over the past few weeks, however, cases of the flu have remained extremely low.

But first, What is Flu?

Flu Numbers for 2019-20

The final data on flu season 2019/2020 was released by the CDC in April as COVID-19 continued to spread throughout the United States.

Between October 1, 2019 and April 4, 2020, the flu resulted in:

  • 39 to 56 million illnesses
  • 410,000 to 740,000 hospitalizations
  • 24,000 to 62,000 deaths
  • 195 pediatric deaths

Flu Numbers for 2020-21

Flu season typically peaks between December and February each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the flu causes up to 45 million illnesses, up to 810,000 hospitalizations and up to 61,000 deaths each year. But this flu season, there have been just 925 cases of the flu around the U.S so far.

“Though caused by a different virus from the one that causes COVID-19, the flu is also a respiratory viral disease, so everything we are doing to slow transmission of COVID-19, such as wearing face masks, frequent handwashing and physical distancing, should also reduce transmission of flu,” says Eili Klein, Ph.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

More people also received the flu vaccine this season compared with last season, many schools and businesses are holding virtual classes or meetings instead of in-person, and fewer people have been traveling — all of which could be keeping flu cases down.

“We commonly see flu spread in communities, schools, businesses and through travel each year, so these changes are likely keeping the flu away,” says Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System and associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Klein believes that even if this flu season turns out to be less severe than usual, it could affect the severity of the next flu season. “Because of the current restrictions and precautions everyone is taking this season, far fewer people will be infected or exposed to the flu virus, and therefore won’t become immune to certain strains of the virus,” he says. “So the number of people who may have more severe infections next year is likely to be greater because immunity will be lower.”

Flu season typically runs through May, so there’s still a chance that flu cases will pick up in the next few months. Also, one strain of flu — influenza B — tends to circulate later in the season.

Takeaway:

Johns Hopkins Medicine experts recommend continuing prevention methods to protect against the flu and COVID-19 as well as getting the flu vaccine. “The flu vaccine takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop and begin protecting you from the illness, so getting the flu vaccine any time through mid-April will still be helpful in preventing the flu,” Maragakis says. She advises that anyone who hasn’t already gotten their flu vaccination should do so as soon as possible, but she notes that 14 days must elapse between getting the COVID-19 vaccination and any other vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.

From: Covid-19 Story Tip: Flu Cases Dramatically Low So Far This Season (hopkinsmedicine.org)

Author: txnaturalpediatrics

By training, I am a American Board Certified Pediatrician. But in my younger years I grew up with natural alternatives. As a mom I have tried to incorporate both for my kids and it has worked wonders. And finally, as I am studying natural & alternative medicines, I realize the beauty and wisdom of living closer to earth. Hence in my practice I integrate both...for acute ailments I follow American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation but for simple and/or chronic conditions I prefer natural alternatives. In western training we were raised to think that "health is the absence of symptoms and problems". But eastern sensibilities has educated me that "Health is state that allows one to use the full capabilities of their body, mind and intellect. Therefore, healthy living is a balanced state of well being: physically, mentally, socially and spiritually." This implies that healing is not a "one-pill-fits-all", but a personalized experience.

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