Influenza rates rise sharply in Maine
AUGUSTA, Maine (WAGM) - Maine is experiencing a sharp increase in seasonal influenza (flu) activity statewide according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC). The Maine CDC is reminding residents and visitors to take steps to stay healthy, including getting the flu vaccine.
Symptoms of the flu for most people means a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and fatigue. Contracting flu can also result in more severe symptoms that can lead to hospitalization and death.
The Maine CDC says 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 according to the Maine CDC. 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, says the Maine CDC. The flu vaccine can also reduce the severity of the illness.
In addition to getting vaccinated, Maine CDC recommends people 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.
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