The 2020 – 2021 flu season saw lower than average activity. Experts
believe this is likely due to COVID-19 precautions such as masking, social
distancing and an increased vigilance with handwashing and other infection
control measures taken by the public. Dr. Marty Baker, pediatrician with
CaroMont Pediatric Partners, wants his patients to know that this is unlikely
to happen again, and while COVID precautions remain in place, individuals,
families and children are working to get back into normal activities and
routines. Dr. Baker shares what to expect for the 2021 – 2022 flu
season and how to best protect you and your family:
“It is reasonable to assume flu activity will be higher this year.
We had a lot of viral respiratory illness this past summer, likely because
these viruses began circulating again as we resumed pre-pandemic activities.
It remains exceedingly important to get the flu vaccine every year.”
Dr. Baker’s Recommendations for the 2021 – 2022 Flu Season
There are many benefits to getting vaccinated for seasonal flu. Not only
can it reduce the severity of flu symptoms and illness, but also it can
help avoid doctors’ visits, missed days from work or school, and
help prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. Important information
to consider when getting vaccinated for seasonal flu:
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with
rare exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for people who
are at higher risk of serious complications from influenza due to underlying
medical conditions and/or age and risk category. Learn more about your
Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people:
- There are flu shots approved for use in children as young as 6 months old
and flu shots approved for use in adults 65 years and older.
- Flu shots also are recommended for pregnant people and people with certain
chronic health conditions.
- The nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in non-pregnant people
who are 2 years through 49 years of age. People who are pregnant and people
with certain medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray flu
vaccine (not available at all locations, please consult your healthcare
provider for more information).
CDC does not recommend any specific flu vaccine over another.
The most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a
flu vaccine every year.
Dr. Baker Discusses Common Flu Myths
As a pediatrician, I hear the following statements from patients and families,
and I want to ensure everyone is fully informed based on science and experience.
Here are a few of the most common myths I hear:
The flu vaccination gave me the flu.
This is scientifically impossible. The injectable vaccine contains nothing
that can grow in the body. It is an inactivated form of the virus and
cannot give anyone the flu.
The flu mist is a live attenuated version of the virus which is deactivated
at the body’s core temperature. It is administered in the nasal
passage which is much cooler than the body’s core temperature. As
a precaution, it cannot be given to high-risk individuals.
I’ve never had the flu, so I don’t need the vaccine.
This is, simply, good luck. Continue to be vigilant with good hand hygiene
and stay away from those infected, but still, the vaccination is the best
preventative method to avoid getting the flu.
It’s better to get the flu and let the body’s natural defense
take care of it.
The flu is a deadly virus. It is never better to get a deadly virus in
your system and hope your body’s natural defense is up to par. And
should your body build a defense against one strain of the flu, remember
the vaccine will administer defense against several different strains.
In some seasons, two or three strains will circulate.
I don’t want to get the vaccine too early.
While it is ideal to get your flu vaccine before the beginning of flu season
in October, it is never too late to protect yourself and those you love
against the flu.
Flu vaccinations are available at CaroMont Health primary care practices
and clinics across our region. To find a location near you, please visit