KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The start of flu season is nearly here. The Director of Nursing with the Knox County Health Department spoke about what the community should expect.

Despite flu numbers being a tad lower over the first couple of years of the pandemic due to mask-wearing and social distancing, Dena Mashburn said the 2022 flu season would look more “normal.”

“I would guess that we would see a more normal flu season this year, just simply because everything’s open, everyone is sharing their germs readily, people are back at work, kids are back in school fully,” explained Mashburn.

Mashburn said people need to stay aware of how they’re feeling.

According to the CDC, some flu-like symptoms include having a fever or chills, coughing, having a sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, overall fatigue, and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

While the flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses. There are some similarities in symptoms. People can range from being asymptomatic to having severe symptoms.

While Mashburn encouraged people to get both the flu shot and the most updated COVID vaccines and boosters, she also said living a healthy lifestyle will help people even before getting sick.

“Doing all those prevention things that really keep you healthy and allow you to fight off the infections that we know are around,” she said. “Getting exercise, eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, all of those things that are important as a foundation for a healthy life.”