SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s that time of year where respiratory illnesses like the flu become more common. Health officials say now is the time where we will see a lot more people start to have flu-like symptoms.

Temperatures are dropping as we head into the colder months and that means we’re heading in to flu and virus season. Chief of Emergency Medicine at Baystate Wing Hospital, Dr. Joe Sills, told 22News that fall and winter is the prime cold and flu season.

“When it gets colder, people tend to congregate indoors, there is less ventilation of shared spaces. So you are all breathing the same air and inhaling the same particles which can increase the likelihood of transmission of respiratory disease,” said Dr. Sills.

According to the National Institutes of Health, flu cases usually start to increase in October and peak between December and February. Cold and flu viruses, as well as Covid-19, have a better chance of surviving in cooler weather. Some ways to protect yourself from getting sick are to avoid close contact, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing and wear those warm layers when outdoors.

According to Dr. Sills, vaccinations can also help to prevent infection, “Get vaccinated for flu every year. Over the course of your lifetime, it is likely to prevent at least one or two occurrences of influenza which may not seem like much but influenza can be a big deal.”

He says while people may still experience flu or Covid-19 symptoms, they will be less severe with the vaccinations. Dr. Sills also recommends that people continue to practice good hygiene by washing hands frequently and using a mask to prevent infection.

Local News

Kiara Smith is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since March 2023. Follow Kiara on X @KiaraBSmith1 and view her bio to see more of her work.