February 9, 2011
For More Information Contact
Influenza Intensity Is High – If you Missed Your Flu Shot, Get it Now!
(Richmond, Va.) Cases of influenza have significantly increased in Virginia. In the past few weeks the intensity of influenza activity has risen from low to high. This means that more people are seeing their doctors for symptoms of influenza now than at any other time during this flu season, and people are at greater risk for catching the flu right now.
“Since mid-January there has been a notable increase in the number of people visiting a doctor with influenza-like illness and in the number of specimens testing positive for influenza. A similar pattern is being seen across the southeastern U.S.,” says State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP.
Not only are reported cases rising, but the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has sadly confirmed two pediatric flu-associated deaths in Virginia. Two to three pediatric flu-associated deaths are usually reported each year in Virginia. Nationally, 19 flu-related pediatric deaths have been reported this season to the Centers for Disease Control and Surveillance as of January 29, 2010.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s not too late to protect yourself from influenza. Vaccinations are still available across the state and are the best protection against getting the flu. Virginia’s flu season typically begins in December and runs through March, hitting its peak in February, so if you’ve been putting it off, it is time to get the flu shot.
To locate a pharmacy, physician or local health department clinic offering seasonal flu vaccine, log on to www.vdh.virginia.gov or contact your local health department.
Those who are at high risk from complications, like people with underlying medical conditions and the elderly, and who may have the flu should see their doctor. CDC recommends that people who are at high risk of complications be treated with antiviral medicines if they develop influenza.
If you are already sick, please take precautions to prevent spreading the flu to others. Taking these everyday precautions can help:
● covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing
● staying at home when ill
● washing your hands frequently
Typical symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and often extreme fatigue.