Flu season ramps up ahead of holidays

Carilion Clinic will be hosting a free flu vaccine clinic Tuesday, Nov. 22

ROANOKE, Va. – Flu season has already been intense for many in our region, and an infectious disease expert at Carilion Clinic has some advice before families travel for the holidays.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there have been about 4.4 million flu infections nationwide. Schools in our region have been impacted already, and others have closed because of many student and staff illnesses.

Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, medical director for infection prevention at Carilion Clinic, said the last time flu numbers were this high was back in 2010 or 2011.

Baffoe-Bonnie said this year’s flu vaccine is effective against the two most common strains going around.

With the upcoming holidays, he recommended masking if you’re going to be around a lot of people, especially the elderly and anyone who is immunocompromised.

If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, doctors said it’s better late than never.

“These respiratory viruses, they really love it when it is cold and we are indoors, which is about what is going to start happening in the coming weeks to months,” said Baffoe-Bonnie.

Carilion Clinic is holding a free flu vaccine clinic on Tuesday, Nov. 22. It runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Carilion Children’s Tanglewood Center.

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