Last year’s flu levels were low, due in large part to measures such as social distancing, hand hygiene and masking. What does the 2021–2022 cold and flu season have in store for us? Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts for this year’s cold and flu levels.
Experts warn this year’s flu season could be difficult. Due to last year’s mild flu season, medical experts believe flu virus immunities have likely diminished, leaving more Americans at risk. According to CNBC News, last year’s lowered rate of flu infections will leave many without immunity to this year’s flu virus. Returning to a more normal lifestyle without masking will also leave people more exposed to others’ cold and flu viruses.
The CDC predicts flu and pneumonia will increase, but because of the lack of firm data for last year, it cannot effectively model and predict this year’s outbreak levels. However, the CDC does predict that flu levels will “return to pre-pandemic levels” in 2021–2022, according to CNBC News.
What can you and your family do to prevent colds and flu this year? Hand hygiene will help, as will donning masks, avoiding the touching of eyes, nose, and mouth, staying home if sick and getting the most recent flu shot when available. The CDC expects no delays in obtaining the flu vaccine this year. The CDC anticipates manufacturers will increase production this year, considering the expected high flu levels. Call your health provider or pharmacy to ensure availability
This year’s vaccines will protect against four viruses, A(H1N1), A(H3N2), B/Victor and B/Yamagata. Unless you have any health considerations, the CDC recommends flu vaccines for all those aged six months and older.