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Why doctors warn this flu season could be especially bad and people need to get their shots

Everyone who can is asked to get a flu shot this year, even though the last flu season wasn't that bad.

HOUSTON — The flu season was almost non-existent last year, so why are doctors concerned about the 2021 flu season and recommending everyone get their shots?

2020’s flu season

There was record-low number of flu cases last year. Experts say everything from masks, virtual schooling and social distancing helped keep those numbers down. But this year, health officials expect it to be very different. Schools are holding in-person classes again, basic pandemic protections have become politicized, and the surging delta variant could create a nightmare scenario. The last thing crowded hospitals need is a serious flu season on top of the delta surge.

Flu season predicted to be severe

And there are some signs we could have a bad 2021 flu season. We already have a spike in RSV cases. The respiratory disease that can cause real problems for kids usually surges in the winter. But as restrictions eased this summer there was a rare summer surge of the virus. Public health experts see that as a sign that the flu season could be bad this year.

Flu shot recommended this fall

That is why the experts are asking everyone to get a flu shot this fall. The flu season starts around October and the CDC says it is best to get your shot before Halloween. And just like the COVID-19 vaccines, the flu shot is not 100% effective, but it still helps prevent hospitalizations and death. As most doctors and nurses will tell you they don’t need Halloween to be any scarier this year.

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