Local counties see 'dramatic rise' in flu hospitalizations

The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. That means flu has spread among patients and staff shutting down an entire floor to new admissions. There have been 612 flu-related hospitalizations reported and no pediatric deaths.

State Sen. Brownie Carson, D-Brunswick, said he's concerned that ME still doesn't have enough public health nurses on hand if a flu epidemic were to break out this season.

However, the North Dakota Health Department has been reporting higher than normal influenza activity this season, primarily in the southern part of the state.

Is the man flu real? "The illness is contagious through droplets in the air", he said. "Either way, we're seeing lots and lots of viruses, you know it is that time of season where all the colds and coughs and viruses are around, you're trapped in these closed environments and you're sharing all of those germs readily". The nasal spray vaccine is not recommended this year.

A preliminary estimate by scientists in the United States reported the H3N2 vaccine was only 10 percent effective, because of the mutation. "Unfortunately, this flu season is far from over".

That's double from the prior week, and there are several more months left in flu season. "Advice, tips, information and videos on getting over flu and other common illnesses are available at a new HSE website.The site was developed by the HSE along with Global Positioning System and pharmacists and is a great resource for people to get advice and get better". And, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, infants under the age of 6 months should also pass on the shot.

Sarah Wilson, a registered nurse and the infection preventionist at CRMC, said this is the same strain that everyone was vaccinated against previous year.

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Generally, the flu season starts in January.

As of December 23, there have been 345 reported flu cases in Berks County this season. It is tracked by emergency room visits, and thermometer sales at local drug stores is also tracked to gauge illness in the region. "They get exposed to each other and then they go back to their work or their school and let it spread for a while and then do it again at Christmas and you get another blow up".

"It is not too late to get the flu vaccine if you haven't already received one this season", Thomas said.

The policy is in place through March 2018.

Dr. Siiri Bennett, state epidemiologist for the Maine CDC, said that "the large bulk of what we're seeing is influenza A (H2N3), which is more serious and more likely to cause hospitalizations and deaths, especially among those over 65 and young children".

Influenza s ymptoms tend to arise pretty suddenly, and can include: fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, chills/body aches, and headaches, vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Marjorie Miles