Preparing for a Rough Flu Season
Posted on 10/12/2022

Leaves are falling. A morning chill is in the air. Flu season is here.

The flu is a serious respiratory illness that sends many of our residents to the hospital each year. An unexpected upside of COVID-19 precautions such as masking indoors and avoiding crowds is that public health experts saw virtually no major flu outbreaks in the United States during the last two years.


That will likely change this year. With most mandatory COVID-19 measures lifted and many people returning to pre-pandemic activities, public health experts predict a significant increase in flu cases this year. And because we’ve experienced virtually no flu for the last two years, our immune systems are not as prepared to fight the flu virus.
This year, based on the rise in flu cases in the southern hemisphere, this year’s flu season in the U.S. may look more like those of pre-pandemic years.


On top of COVID-19, which is expected to rise again in November and December, officials expect to have a real influenza season againHospitals are still strained and over capacity.
You can fight the flu and keep Benton and Franklin counties in great shape. Get vaccinated, stay home when you’re sick and help others around you stay healthy, too! Flu shots are the way to go!


The flu and COVID-19 share many symptoms, like: 

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Body Aches 

Only a test by a healthcare provider can tell if you have the flu. Be sure to get tested if you’re not feeling well. Looking for protection? Getting a flu shot is your best protection: 

  • It can stop you from getting the flu.
  • If you do get sick, your illness will be milder and shorter.
  • It protects those around you.
  • It protects you all season. 

Everyone should get a flu shot. But some groups are especially at risk for severe illness: 

  • Children under 5 years (especially under 2 years).
  • Adults 65 years or older.
  • Those who are pregnant.
  •  Anyone living with a health condition like asthma, diabetes or heart disease. 

Adults 65 years or older should ask for the flu shot made just for seniors. These products offer a higher dose or an added ingredient to boost effectiveness.  

Babies under 6 months old and people who have had severe allergic reactions to flu shots are the only people who should not get a flu shot. People who are allergic to eggs can usually get a flu shot. Have any questions? Talk to your healthcare provider.

It’s also safe and convenient to get the flu vaccine at the same time as other vaccines, including the new updated COVID-19 bivalent booster, or any COVID-19 vaccination. 


Interested in getting the flu shot, the Benton-Franklin Health District is hosting a Flu Vaccine Clinic for adults ages 19 and older.  

 Flu Shot Clinic 


Other easy steps can help protect you and those around you: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Stay 6 feet away from people you don’t live with.
  • When you’re sick, stay home and call your healthcare provider.

Many of the healthy habits you learned during the COVID-19 pandemic can help keep you safe during flu season. Stay up to date on our Influenza (Flu) BFHD page.
We will continue to monitor flu activity from October through April. You can also follow the CDC’s
Flu Activity Tracker for Washington State and the U.S.