MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Flu season is upon us and local health experts are warning about a possible increase in cases as pandemic restrictions are becoming more relaxed.
"We're on the cusp of the holiday season. We have Thanksgiving next week. People will be gathering. They need to know that the flu is out there, and they need to protect themselves," said Renay Rouse, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health in Martin County.
Rouse said last year's infection rate of the flu was low, but there could be an uptick during this season now with pandemic protocols becoming more relaxed.
"Last year, we were worried about what's called, or the potential for what's called, a "twindempic" where we would have flu issues and COVID. We didn't see that last year. That was probably because everyone was practicing really high prevention strategies," Rouse said.
According to the latest weekly summary from the Florida Department of Health, the influenza rate remains at low levels across the state.
While it's not possible to predict how the flu season will play out these winter months, the state health department of health said during the last four weeks, the percent of influenza-positive laboratory results remained low.
However, levels are starting to increase for the first time since March 2020.
"Now more than ever, we're seeing little pockets show up around the world of flu coming, which was low before. But now we are starting to see it," said Dr. Lyssette Cardona, chair of the infectious disease department at Cleveland Clinic Martin Health.
Health experts recommend vaccination for the flu and COVID-19, especially if you are going to be around the elderly this holiday season.