LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The upcoming flu season will be the first without COVID-19 precautions.

This means no masks and no social distancing, which may have helped in the past.

During the 2021 to 2022 flu season, up to 13 million people suffered from flu illnesses, but for the 2018-2019 flu season 29 million Americans got the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Shiven Chaudry, an internal medicine physician told 8 News Now the changes to COVID restrictions could impact the upcoming flu season.

“I think that’s why with the looser restrictions, especially in the state of Nevada we are expecting higher numbers this year,” he said.

Dr. Chaudry also reflected on Australia’s recent flu season as a good indicator of what’s to come in the United States and why getting the flu vaccine this year could be a good preventive measure.

“The CDC said they have changed the type of composition in the type of vaccine they have prepared and also the CDC recommends that anyone over 65 years of age they have a higher dose they will need for protection against the influenza virus,” Dr. Chaudry added.

Immunize Nevada put out a warning and said Australia has already had more than 200,000 flu cases.

Dr. Chaudry also said those suffering from long-haul COVID symptoms could also be more
susceptible to getting the flu.

Flu activity can begin to increase during the month of October and peaks between December and February.

The flu vaccine is currently available and pharmacists in the valley are administering it.