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Health Tips Tuesday: Flu season

National influenza week is observed in December.
Updated: Dec. 14, 2021 at 2:29 PM EST
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(WGGB/WSHM) - National Influenza Week is observed in December.

Western Mass News spoke with Dr. Megan Gallagher, with the Division of Infectious Diseases at Baystate health to find out more information.

What can you tell us about the flu this year?

Last year we really didn’t see much influenza infection. We do expect there’s going to be more influenza activity this year.

Why is it important to get a flu vaccine?

Very important to get the flu vaccine because it reduces your chance of getting the flu and even if you do get the flu it reduces your risk of getting severly sick from influenza, so you don’t end up hospitalized or in the icu.

When is the peak flu season?

In general, around here we tend to see peak flu season in January or February, but it does vary year from year. In general we see most of the influenza activity during the winter months when it’s cold, people are in doors, the air is dry and also that makes it must easier for the virus to spread.

What are symptoms people should look out for the flu?

Symptoms for the flu include fever, chills, muscle aches or body aches that are often very severe. People can have difficulty breathing or a cough.

Where can people get more information?

If you have any symptoms that you think could be the flu, you should definitely reach out to your doctor or local urgent care clinic. One of the important things to know is that the symptoms of the flu can be very similar to symptoms of covid-19, and it’s important to get evaluated and tested because we do have active anti-viral treatments for the flu and they’re more effective the earlier they are started, so if you can get diagnosed right away and get on treatment it can hopefully prevent you from getting more sick.