Infectious disease expert from JMU gives flu season tips

Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 10:36 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The CDC reports flu season typically starts around October, so we are just weeks away from the season and this year’s flu vaccine has just been rolled out.

“The best time to get the flu shot is in September or October. You don’t want to get it too early so that your immunity isn’t as strong when the flu season really takes off,” Dr. Suzanne Grossman, an infectious disease professor at James Madison University said.

Dr. Grossman said flu vaccines are readily available at most pharmacies and at the doctor’s office.

“Different insurance companies might offer different incentives for you to get the vaccine so then, not only are you not paying, but then you get an incentive and also some stores will offer a gift card if you get your flu vaccine there,” Dr. Grossman said.

Dr. Grossman said it is too early to tell if this year’s flu season will be severe or not, but she said last year was mild so they are hoping for the same results in 2022.

Over the last few years, the lines have become less clear on the symptom difference between the flu, COVID, and an average cold.

“The flu and COVID have really similar symptoms so its really hard to tell the difference just based on your symptoms, so this is where getting tested for the flu and COVID can be really helpful to know, ‘Do I have COVID? Do I have the flu? Do I have both?” Dr. Grossman said.

Dr. Grossman said the symptoms of the flu are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Running or stuffy nose

However, over the last few years, many of the practices put in place because of COVID-19 can help stop the spread of flu germs, too.

“Some people are still taking COVID precautions,” she said. “That’s always helpful in stopping the spread of the flu, as well. Masking in public, maintaining distance of at least six feet from other people.”

For more information on flu season visit