WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — With fall around the corner, so is flu season. Last year, Kansas saw an unusual season with minimal cases across that state. That might not be the case this year.
“It was one of the quietest flu seasons we have ever had,” said Anthony Neises, Ascension Via Christi pharmacy manager.
Looking at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment data, the number of influenza cases seen in hospitals last year was nearly non-existent. For example, Wichita hospitals only admitted two cases.
“I do believe that social distancing, masking and hand hygiene had a huge part to play,” Neises said.
According to Ascension Via Christi, before last year, the average number of patients in Wichita hospitals and emergency rooms with the flu or other respiratory illnesses each year between November and April was 1,200.
Neises believes cases might bounce back this year.
“Social precautions not being taken as seriously. Mask mandates are not as prevalent now in the community. The risk of actually getting the flu and having what we call a normal flu season is very high,” Neises said.
“That can be problematic considering the COVID hospitalizations are starting to reach a surge and a high.”
With flu shots now available, he is encouraging you to roll up your sleeve.
“The flu itself can make you more susceptible to other respiratory illnesses. So, with the flu and COVID together, it can be a potentially life-threatening situation,” he said. “So, getting vaccinated from both is extremely important as we go into the flu season.”
Neises said the best time to get your flu shot is between now and October. Again, he said it’s safe to get both the flu shot and COVID-19 shot simultaneously.