Still time to get protected with the flu shot
AUGUSTA— Maine is experiencing a sharp increase in seasonal influenza (flu) activity statewide. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) reminds residents and visitors to take steps to stay healthy, including getting the flu vaccine.
For millions of people every season, coming down with flu means a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and fatigue. This can lead to time missed from work or school. Contracting flu can also result in more severe symptoms that can lead to hospitalization and death.
The best protection is the flu vaccine, which is recommended for those aged 6 months and older.
“Maine’s flu season is undeniably here but it’s not too late to protect yourself and your loved ones in time for holiday gatherings,” said Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah. “This year’s flu vaccine is a good match for the strains of the virus circulating in Maine and across the country. Getting your flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the spread of flu, as well as its worst impacts.”
All 16 counties are experiencing a sustained increase in flu activity. There were 63 influenza-associated hospitalizations reported to Maine CDC last week, a 152 percent increase from the previous week. Of those hospitalizations, nearly 50 percent were in people age 65 and older. This year, Maine CDC has reported 3,446 positive influenza tests, 110 hospitalizations, and 31outbreaks, suggesting a higher and more rapid increase in flu activity than is typical for this time of the year.
Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of illness, visits to the doctor, and missed work or school. The flu vaccine can also reduce the severity of the illness. Studies show the flu vaccine saves children’s lives and prevents serious events associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes, and heart disease. It also helps prevent flu-related hospitalization among working-age and older adults.
In addition to getting vaccinated, people can take the following steps to reduce the spread of illness:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Wash your hands
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects
For more information about flu, please visit: www.maineflu.gov.
To find the nearest flu vaccination center, please visit: www.vaccines.gov.