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If there were any unintended benefits of the shutdowns over the past year from the COVID-19 pandemic, one could be a drastically lower amount of influenza cases across the United States as the opportunities for transmission were fewer and father in-between. The calm flu season of 2020, however, could boomerang back with a force as less exposure leads to less opportunity to build immunity, reports.

Jessica Dixon, a WakeMed infection prevention specialist, says rates of other respiratory viral illnesses are considerably higher than most summers — likely in part because that immunity wasn't built up or as strong as normal years due to pandemic isolation

The potential for lower immunity than a typical year makes getting the flu vaccine more critical than ever, adding that it'll be difficult to differentiate COVID-19 cases from the flu due to similar respiratory, fatigue and fever-related symptoms. While September is typically early for a flu shot, WakeMed experts recommend getting one as soon as September due to the unique circumstances of this year. 

While cleaning professionals won't be able to stop COVID-19 and influenza from being a threat altogether, they can continue to harness the best practices for infection control. The same measures, such as high-touchpoint disinfection, hand hygiene promotion, increased cleaning frequencies and interim cleaning for high-traffic areas can help to diffuse both threats. While difficult, there are some telltale signs to disseminate between both illnesses. Read more on that here