Health experts expect flu season to start sooner

Amanda Aguilar Image
Thursday, September 22, 2022
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Kaiser Permanente is one of many places across the Valley offering flu shots, as we enter flu season.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kaiser Permanente is one of many places across the Valley offering flu shots, as we enter flu season.

"We're on full force here giving flu vaccines at multiple locations in the Valley -- but specifically at Clovis and Fresno and Selma," said Dr. Mitul Patel, a Kaiser Permanente pediatrician in Fresno.

Dr. Patel said everyone six months and older should get a flu shot, especially this year when flu cases are expected to make a comeback.

"We typically follow Southern Hemispheres data, and so what we've seen from there is that they just had their worst flu season in five years, and it peaked really early," Dr. Patel said.

Based on that data, Dr. Patel predicts our flu season could begin as soon as October.

With school back in session and masks optional, infections are spreading among kids sooner.

"We saw flu and RSV trickle into the summer months, which I've never seen before," he said. "So we were seeing flu in May, June -- which is really, really crazy to think about."

Dr. Patel suggests getting children their flu shot now -- October, at the very latest.

"Yes, you could feel a little malaise a little bit, you know, sore, but it's not going to get you sick," he explained.

According to the CDC, kids six months to eight years old may need to get two flu shots if they've only had one shot in the past, saying it will provide the best protection.