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This year's flu season could come back in 'full force,' experts say

Ahead of flu season, doctors are putting parents on notice and say right now is the best time to get kids their flu shots.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As doctor's offices and pharmacies are beginning to offer seasonal flu shots, experts are urging Americans to get one before the end of October. 

"The flu vaccine is really the best way to protect children," Dr. Kristina Bryant, a pediatric infectious diseases doctor with Norton Children's, said. 

Some experts say the seasonal flu virus is back in 'full force' after two years of mild activity during the pandemic.

"I worry that some parents may have forgotten how bad flu can be in kids," Bryant said.

In a typical pre-pandemic year, like 2018, the U.S. saw a total of 41-million flu cases.

According to the CDC, those most at risk for severe illness are people over 65 and immunocompromised patients

Still, experts have concerns about how the easing of pandemic-era restrictions may impact children.

"It can certainly make kids miserable. Both of these viruses can spread through families, through households and really take a family out of commission," Bryant said.


As for what symptoms to look out for, experts admit it can get a little confusing. They suggest looking out for:

COVID-19: Fever, cough, difficulty breathing and symptoms occur a few days after exposure.

Influenza: Fever, cough, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, congestion and a sore throat. 

Allergies: Sneezing, itchy and runny nose and watery and swollen eyes. 

The FDA also recently authorized a new COVID-19 booster shot, which is designed to be a better match against current variants.

The shot is available to anyone 12 and older who had their last COVID shot at least two months ago.

Doctors recommend parents get their kids vaccinated against both viruses, by the end of October.

"We have a safe and effective vaccine for the flu. We have a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19," Bryant said.

There's an extensive list of places you can go to get vaccinated. 

Scheduled appointments can be made at places like UofL Health and Norton Healthcare

Walk-in clinics in the area include places like Meijer, Kroger, CVS and Walgreens

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