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Utah doctors expect more severe flu season this winter

Posted at 11:29 AM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 13:29:28-04

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah prepares to enter the cold winter months, health experts are urging residents to get vaccinated, not just against COVID-19, but the flu as well.

On Thursday, Intermountain Healthcare officials stressed that while the state faced a mild flu season last year, doctors believe that won’t be the case this time around, and that's due to the lack of precautions people are taking against COVID.

Fewer people are now wearing masks and social distancing than this time last year.

Large events have also returned — increasing the chances for people to pass along the flu virus, in addition to COVID-19.

Tamara Sheffield, MD, Intermountain’s preventative medicine director, stressed the importance of getting a flu shot as soon as possible — because those who get very sick may not get the medical attention they need.

"You can be a case, where maybe you're healthy enough that it's just going to make you sick for a few days, you may miss work, you may miss school, but you may pass this on to another family member who has a medical condition that won't be quite as lucky as you and may end up in the hospital," said Sheffield.

"For us as a healthcare system, we need you. We need you to help us so that we can help you."

Sheffield added that while experts never can predict what the season will look like in advance, flu cases are already emerging that could be a sign cases will increase this year.