Doctors in West Michigan brace for a severe flu season

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Doctors in West Michigan are bracing for an expected spike in flu cases this season.

Australia’s influenza season is coming to an end and the country has seen one of the highest case numbers in many years.

dr Andrew Jameson, the medical director for infection control at Trinity Health St. Mary’s, said the data is an indicator of what could be happening in the US

“The 2021 (Australian government flu network) season peaked in mid-May, they had a total of 598 cases and no deaths. So far into the 2022 season — which is year to date from January to now — they peaked again fairly early, which is mid-May to June, but then they had 224,000 cases, 300 deaths and 1,800 hospitalizations,” Jameson said.

Doctors say the good news is that this year’s flu shot appears to be more effective against circulating strains of the virus, which could help make cases more manageable.

In Australia, like in the US, flu cases were lower during the pandemic.

“All those things that we used to do we just don’t do anymore because we don’t worry as much about COVID anymore… those masks, I know people hated them, I get it, but they have a lot Doing good to prevent respiratory disease,” Jameson said.

The lowercase letters mean that many people have not had the flu in years or have never received a flu shot. This is of particular concern for the elderly and young children.

“We have children aged 1 year, 2 years and some even 3 years who have never been exposed to influenza. Those are the kids we’re most worried about,” Jameson said.

The Kent County Health Department’s medical director, Dr. Nirali Bora, hopes more people will be vaccinated.

“I think it helps us to realize that we have to be vigilant this year. We have to pay attention to what’s happening in our families and in our communities,” Bora said.

The recently released updated COVID-19 booster can be given at the same time as the flu shot.

“That makes it really convenient that if people decide to get one, they can get both at the same time. A lot of times people separate their arms so one arm doesn’t hurt anymore, but yeah that makes it very comfortable to deal with the protection all season,” Bora said. Doctors in West Michigan brace for a severe flu season

Dais Johnston

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