Last year’s flu season was almost non-existent, in part thanks to COVID-19 precautions like wearing a mask, proper hand washing, and social distancing that help reduce the transmission of all respiratory illnesses (including including the flu).
However, the outlook for this year could be quite different.
“In just one week, we saw over 150 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases, which is lower than the total number of COVID-19 cases but in less than two weeks surpassed all other respiratory viruses we test,” explains Bradley Ford, MD, PhD, clinical associate professor of pathology.
With COVID-19 vaccines now widely available, many have started to relax some of the safety measures that have been so successful in preventing a severe flu season last year. This, combined with the upcoming holidays and the colder weather that pushes people inside, puts us at risk of a possible twindemia.
Avoid a “twindemia”
A twin – where we are facing a high number of influenza and COVID-19 at the same time – would put additional strain on hospital staff and resources. It is important that we do everything we can to protect ourselves from the flu so that we can continue to meet the needs of the people of Iowa who rely on us for care.
There is still time to fight the flu
It’s not too late to fight the flu and help avoid a twin. There are things we can all do to reduce the spread of influenza and other respiratory illnesses:
- Get the flu shot
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands often
- Keep your distance from others
- Stay home if you feel sick and follow these guidelines from our University Employee Health Clinic)
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19 (or get your COVID-19 booster if you haven’t already)
If you have changed your mind and wish to receive your influenza vaccine after initially refusing the vaccine as part of the influenza vaccination campaign, you can work with your human resources representative or contact the Clinique universitaire de santÃ© des employees (UEHC) to reset your ReadySet survey.