Officials stress importance of flu vaccine even with low flu rates

Officials stress importance of flu vaccine even with low flu rates
Masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing plays a big role in slowing the spread. (Source: KFVS)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — COVID-19 safety measures, like social distancing and masks, are not only helping to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but also the flu.

Laura Lee Wight with the Central Shenandoah Health District said the beginning of flu season overlapped with ongoing COVID-19 prevention methods, which help slow the initial spread of the flu.

“Everyone was wearing their mask and social distancing and staying home, covering their cough, washing their hands before the flu season, so that means there is a less likely chance for flu being spread throughout our community,” Wight said.

Virginia is currently at a “no activity” for this flu season due to such a low spread of the flu. This time last year, Virginia saw “widespread” flu activity.

The vaccine helps lower the severity of flu symptoms, which is vital at this time.

“Our hospital systems are seeing an increase of COVID-19 patients and have to deal with that caseload, so an increase of flu burden in the hospital systems would not be good,” Wight said.

Wight says it is never too late to get the flu vaccine.

As for if masks will stick around after the pandemic, Wight says it is too soon to tell.

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