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By: Susan White
Last year’s flu season was barely a blip on our radar. This year is shaping up to be a different story.
There has been a dramatic uptick in respiratory illnesses in the area, especially the flu, in the past two weeks, according to NorthShore lab test results.
“We are expecting a bad flu season this year or next. This is due to a lack of flu last year; the same precautions that prevented COVID prevented flu. As a result, the normal level of immunity to flu has dropped. Additionally, there may be new strains this year” said Julie Holland, MD, NorthShore Pediatrics.
Children six months and older and all adults should have a flu shot to protect themselves.
Thankfully, electronic reminders triggered through patients’ Electronic Medical Records (EMR) have been helpful in keeping area families on track with regular vaccination schedules, Dr. Holland said.
“We are seeing quality indicators that most of our patients are on pace with vaccinations,” said Dr. Holland, who like her colleagues continues to urge regular vaccinations for all the families in her care, as well as the COVID vaccine for everyone five years old and older.
“We now have the COVID vaccines in our offices and we are encouraging parents to have their children (and themselves) vaccinated not just to protect the child, but everybody else who might be vulnerable in their family and community,” said Dr. Holland.
As older people are known to be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, vaccinating children is especially important to protect grandparents and other relatives who may be gathering more around the holidays.
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