Flu outbreaks on the rise in the tri-state area

11 January, 2019, 09:42 | Author: Israel Montgomery
  • As flu outbreak numbers rise, the HSE says it's not too late to get your vaccine

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine each year.

As peak flu season nears, Greene County Public Health officials report flu hospitalizations are down so far.

Last season, 342 San Diegans died from complications from the flu, the highest total since the County began tracking flu deaths almost 20 years ago.

According to data compiled by Public Health Nursing at Richland Public Health, flu season has arrived in Richland County. "Getting vaccinated can still provide you with protection against a number of influenza strains, and can reduce the severity of others", said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services.

You and your family can get the flu shot at no cost at a military hospital or clinic, a participating network pharmacy, or from a TRICARE-authorized provider. Aside from immunization, basic hygiene such as frequently washing hands, getting plenty of sleep and staying away from sick people helps prevent spread of the flu. Use your TRICARE benefit to get the flu vaccine. For those who get a flu shot and still contract influenza, symptoms tend to be milder and not last as long, research has shown. Most of the deaths occurred in patients who were over the age of 65.

Bennett said the flu often starts in the South and heads northward during the winter months, and ME was one of the last states in the nation a year ago to experience widespread flu. The longer you wait to get treated, the more severe symptoms can get.

"There were more states right before Christmas that had a higher flu activity, and so that made us know, once Christmas was over, our activity was going to go up as well with all the traveling", said Dr. Korri Phillips of Cotton O'Neil Express Care. It has roughly the same level of effectiveness as Tamiflu, but it also seems to reduce shedding of the virus, or the amount of virus you put out that can infect other people. She said flu season was a little delayed this year and didn't start until December.

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It also found there have only been 11 flu outbreaks in long-term care facilities this season compared to 61 in 2017-18 and 93 in 2016-17.

Each year, particularly during the winter months, millions of Americans are infected with influenza.

The most common symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue.

More Mainers are dying from the flu.

"There's no ifs or ands about it because we don't want to go through this again", Wesley Kequahtooway said. This season's batch, moreover, is being touted as much more effective than last year's.

She said people should wash their hands, cover their coughs and stay home if they feel sick to avoid potentially spreading the flu.

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