Experts Warn Flu Season Could Be Severe

Banner Health flu experts are “preparing for the worst’’ for the upcoming flu seasons as early flu cases in Australia and even in the U.S. indicate that this season may be worse than others.

“We look at Australia, where it is their winter season right now, and they are getting hit hard by the flu. They are having a heavier than typical flu season, so we are preparing for the worst,’’ said Devin Minior, MD, physician executive at Banner Urgent Care. Banner Urgent has locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Colorado. (Minior is pronounced “minor.”)

Australian officials say they treated record-breaking numbers of flu patients this season. In the United States, a 4-year-old California boy died from influenza earlier this month.

“At this point, we would advocate getting the flu shot as soon as possible,’’ Minior said. Flu shots are available at Banner Urgent Care clinics; no copay with most insurances. “I would recommend not putting it off because we really don’t know when the flu season is going to start.’’

For some, there is an alternative to flu shots: FluMist, a nasal spray that can be prescribed for people from 2 years old to 49 years old, if they are healthy and not pregnant.

“Early signs are showing that is very effective against the flu,’’ Minior said.

In this video, Minior also addresses:

  • Why do some people feel crummy after getting a flu shot? “Some individuals have different reactions to the flu shot. Some people get soreness at the vaccination and others may get cough, cold or small fever. That’s just a natural reaction to the chemical of the vaccine going into the body.’’
  • Danger posed to children by the flu: “Children typically don’t have a strong immune system until after they reach their teenage years and they develop a full immune response. So, they are more susceptible to any type of illness.’’
  • No. 1 tip to stay healthy: “First and foremost is good hand hygiene. Continue washing your hands with soap and water and as an alternative you can use an alcohol-based rub.’’