Flu Season Isn’t Over Yet

Flu Season Isn’t Over Yet

C.G. Hoffman

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but flu season is just not over yet. 2024 brought with it a particularly malevolent mix of flu, COVID and RSV, and although some areas in the US say the worst is over, in other regions, it’s still sticking around, and even intensifying.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data that showed a national drop in flu hospitalizations, but there were other indicators that were up, with a number of states showing high or very high levels of respiratory disease.

In the US, flu generally peaks between December and February. This winter’s peak came in late December, but there have been other, later surges. Many people are reporting flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, aches and fever or chills, but even if the flu or COVID tests come back negative, they still may be suffering from other viruses which produce flu-like symptoms. The many viruses floating around now may be causing a “virus soup,” where patients may be experiencing multiple virus infections at once, such as flu and strep.

We spoke to Dr. Yehudah Schwab, at Williamsburg Pediatrics, about why the flu season this year seems worse than it normally does. “It’s a combination of factors,” he says. Viruses are always mutating and changing. Plus, in the Jewish community, which is much more communal and close knit, if somebody gets something, everybody tends to get it.”

Peak respiratory virus season will likely continue throughout January and February and then begin to fade as the weather warms up, allowing for outdoor activities, better ventilation, and higher humidity. As 2024 continues, experts said they’re looking forward to more effective at-home tests for COVID and the flu, better flu vaccines, and new research on the body’s immune response to these respiratory viruses.

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