CLEVELAND (WJW) – With flu season just around the corner, the Cleveland Clinic has come out with their prediction of what we can expect.  

Dr. Frank Esper, who is a pediatric infectious disease specialist for the Cleveland Clinic, says to expect a more severe season compared to years past.

“This year, we expect it to be a very big flu season and that the flu is even worse in the younger groups as it was in years past,” shared Dr. Esper. 

Dr. Esper says there are a couple of reasons for the stark prediction.

With COVID-19 mask restrictions all but eliminated this year, the flu can spread faster.

“The thought is when the COVID pandemic hit, we started masking up and everyone started socially distancing, schools were closed for a whole year. Flu just nosed dived. It almost got to the point where there was no flu,” said Dr. Esper. 

However, with those masking restrictions in place, we haven’t been exposed to much, making us all more vulnerable.

“Usually, we see the flu every year. Our immune systems are ready for it. When you haven’t seen the flu in two or three years, that means our immune system may be a little slower,” said Dr. Esper. 

Knowing these two factors, Dr. Esper says there is a greater urgency to make sure the public gets their protection.

“We are trying to make sure everyone gets their COVID boosters and their flu vaccine,” said Dr. Esper. 

If you are wondering if you have to make two trips to get your flu vaccine and COVID vaccine, there is good news.

“If you can absolutely go ahead and get them at the same time, at the same place,” said Dr. Esper.