TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Flu season is normally a cold weather problem as people move inside and close together.
This summer is seeing a very unseasonal increase in the number of flu cases. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg reports they had more than 12,000 children test positive for the flu in May.
“We’re seeing the largest flu numbers we’ve seen since pre-pandemic and uncharacteristically we are seeing large number of flu cases this time of year,” Dr. Joseph Perno with All Children’s said. “It’s hot, it’s June, we shouldn’t be seeing flu but everything has shifted since the pandemic.”
Dr. Perno said there may be many reasons for the increase in cases.
“Obviously all of the restrictions we put in place for COVID worked well for Flu and we barely saw any Flu,” Dr. Perno said. “Washing your hands, staying home, wearing a mask. So, all of those have loosened up and so we are seeing a return of some of the normal viruses,”
The problem is the flu vaccine isn’t easy to find at this time of year.
“The flu vaccine is not really available right now. If it is, I’d recommend getting it, but it’s hard to find,” Dr. Perno said.
So, he’s telling parents many of the tips that have become all too familiar.
“If you’re sick, stay home, right?” Dr. Perno said. “Getting your kids to wash their hands, cover your mouth if they are sneezing or coughing, don’t send your kids to summer camp or wherever if they are sick.”
He also said parents should have their children vaccinated when flu vaccine when it does become available again in September and October.