UVA infectious disease expert warns of potentially serious flu season

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 4:05 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Wearing a face mask doesn’t just prevent the spread of COVID-19, it also stops the spread of other serious respiratory infections like influenza.

Dr. Patrick Jackson, an infectious disease expert with UVA Health, says there were little to no serious flu cases in the area last year thanks to people wearing masks, washing their hands, and social distancing.

The doctor says he does worry, though, about a potentially worse flu season, due to limited exposure to the flu last year.

“Over the past year, we essentially saw no influenza at all, and that’s fantastic because influenza can be quite a serious infection,” Jackson said. “But every year, when the flu season comes around, you kind of rely on people having been exposed the previous year who’ve recovered to kind of tamp down on the amount of transmission of flu that can run in a population.”

Health experts say this underlines the importance of getting vaccinated for both the flu and COVID-19.

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