Doctors predict a large rise in flu cases this upcoming season

ATLANTA — Doctors are predicting the flu season this year is likely to be very active.

Last year was one of the quietest flu seasons ever. Just one child in the US died from it.

Channel 2′s Carol Sbarge talked to a local doctor about what metro Atlanta should expect this fall.

As we are returning to more normal life, flu cases are expected to increase and colds already are.

Trena Myers of Barrow County told Sbarge that she got the flu shot last year and plans to do it again this fall.

“I definitely think that getting it not only is protecting yourself, but you’re helping others in the community,” Myers said.

Dr. Barbara Joy Jones said flu cases this past season across metro Atlanta were remarkably low.

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“Usually in the flu season, we’ll get many people who will come up with upper respiratory infections that we’ll test for flu or strep,” Joy Jones said.

Joy Jones said she only had one patient the whole season who had flu. She thinks the upcoming flu season will be very rambunctious.

She said that in addition to people getting vaccines last year, social distancing, hand washing and masks helped reduce cases.

“You know you’re walking through a lot of droplets from all people. At least for getting those big droplets, the masks were actually excellent at preventing that,” Joy Jones said.

She told Sbarge that with people’s behavior in many ways returning to pre-pandemic norms, it’s not surprising that this summer some people are coming in with colds. In the fall, schools will have in-person learning. Children as young as six months can get the flu vaccine when it becomes available in the fall.

“My message is that in September when the flu vaccine is available, everyone should get it because there’s going to be an uptick,” Joy Jones said.

Doctors also predict there could also be a rise in RSV, a respiratory illness among children, especially as kids go back to school.