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Caption: Health experts are urging people during the holiday season to get a flu shot in addition to a COVID booster. Photo: Pixabay.
Health experts are urging people during the holiday season to get a flu shot in addition to a COVID booster. Photo: Pixabay.

Philly region prepares for flu season amid COVID surge worries

One specific strain of the flu — in addition to a potential COVID surge — has health officials worried as the holiday season kicks off.

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This year’s flu season is underway in the Philadelphia region. At the same time, worry over a potential COVID-19 resurgence is evident.

Pennsylvania health officials have noted the A(H3N2) strain of the flu as the predominant strain being spread.

It is being advised that those in the region get a recent flu vaccination to avoid the effects from lower immunity. 

As the holiday season approaches with Thanksgiving just days away, health officials worry of both a potential surge of the flu as well as the coronavirus.

The prominence of lockdown measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, is believed to have brought a strong curb to the flu during last year’s season.

Worry and uncertainty are growing after these lockdown measures have mostly ceased, ushering in the flu season at a time when some may not expect it.

Last year’s slowed flu spread poses an additional challenge in the prediction of prominent strains through this season, although A(H3H2) is still the strain being closely monitored.

Health officials are now especially worried about a flu spread among children and young adults this season. 

As of now, one adult — in the 65 and older age range — has died in the region from flu-related complications.

Health officials are also promoting awareness of flu-coronavirus interaction, as those affected can have both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, with similar symptoms coming from both.

In the Philadelphia region, health officials are also concerned over possible spreads spurred from  the holiday departure of college students and their subsequent return.

The CDC has reported an approximate 5% lower vaccination rate for children this year, an approximately 17% lower rate for pregnant people, while the general vaccination rate for adults is up by 3.7%.

Young children, those over 65, and those with other chronic illnesses are most at risk of being affected by flu related complications.

Those who feel unwell and are worried of having either the flu or the coronavirus are being advised to receive a COVID-19 test.

Those in the Philadelphia region and surrounding areas are being advised to receive their flu shot and COVID-19 booster shot.

Resources are available for finding a location to receive a flu shot and COVID-19 booster shot in Philadelphia.

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