Feeling Under the Weather: Flu Season 2022 Brings a Variety of Respiratory Illnesses


flu shot! /Samantha Celera/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0.

Getting your flu shot is a sure way to stay safe from the flu. Last year, only half of the US population was vaccinated. This year, The CDC predicts an even more severe flu season.

Avani Prabhu, News Editor

Looking around, you might notice that some of your classmates haven’t been at school recently. Chances are, they’ve got the flu. Influenza, or more commonly known as the flu, is a viral respiratory infection that starts in October and usually ends in May. But recent developments might change that, hinting at a much longer, severe flu season this year. A few alarming signs have emerged from an unexpected place, Australia.

“Flu season in Australia began earlier than usual, which can be an indicator of a severe season.” A statement from NBC news explains.

An earlier start to the flu season means that it’ll hang around longer and be able to wreak more havoc on the Australian population. This year, unfortunately, the flu has been targeting teens and children. Severe cases have been popping up all over the southern hemisphere, a sign of what’s to come.

“Social distancing and other COVID pandemic measures resulted in Massachusetts seeing hardly any flu in 2020,” according to Boston.com.

It’s not just Massachusetts though. After almost 2 years of Mask Mandates, travel restrictions, and social distancing, people have had little to no contact with many other respiratory viruses, especially the flu. This might seem like a good thing but with less flu comes less immunity and a more severe reaction. There is not enough herd immunity to protect the whole population from the virus and this is reflected in Australia’s struggles now.

 “There’s less of an innate kind of immunity to those flu bugs this year, since we weren’t exposed and had a chance to build up immunity to those bugs. So now we are dropping our masks and, you know, getting close together.” Says Dr. Ceniceros, South Forsyth High’s nurse.

Georgia has been hit hard by the flu. Alarming numbers of people, especially children, have been admitted into the emergency department with severe influenza. Hospitals like the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have been overwhelmed with patients, filled with almost 3 times their usual number of patients.

 “The flu is bad, but the RSV is our biggest headache right now.” Says Dr. Ceniceros. “The other kids who are opposed to the RSV, then pass it along to the babies, that’s where that same kind of interaction comes into play.”

There are a couple ways to stay safe this year though. One of the most important things you can do is get vaccinated. That way, you’re protecting yourself and the people around you. Wearing a mask and washing your hands is also a simple way to keep yourself healthy.

“The immunizations, you know, that’s a biggie, get your flu shot, it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to build up in your system. Also, of course, get a good rest, eat good food, exercise, go out in the open, get good fresh air and sunshine and just keep a healthy balance.”

She had a message for students too.

“Yeah, and just know that if you are truly ill, your teachers will work with you. They don’t want you to come in sick and then they’ll help you get your assignments done and all that stuff so don’t be afraid to stay home [if you’re] sick”