The virus is spreading rapidly in Connecticut with three deaths already reported this season.
The warning about this year’s flu season is already out and in fact, everyone, who works for Hartford Healthcare, must be vaccinated. All Connecticut residents were advised to get flu shots, even this late in the season.
“With the winter months and holidays bringing people together, typically indoors, people need to protect themselves from bringing home a present that no one wants: the flu. It is not too late to get the flu vaccination, and people should not be deterred from getting the shot because of recent reports that the vaccine hasn’t been as effective in other parts of the world,” Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said in a statement on Friday. “While we don’t yet know how effective this year’s vaccine will be, we do know that the flu shot will give people more protection against the flu, and at the very least will lessen the symptoms if flu is contracted, than not having the shot at all.”
The holiday season brings people together. It also brings on the flu. During winter months, more people are inside and the last present you want to give is influenza.
“Every year, you get the flu vaccine, you mount up a protection response to that certain strain,” Dr. Virginia Bieluch said.
Bieluch specializes in infectious diseases at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. While the elderly, the young and those with compromised immune systems are usually more at risk. Without a flu shot, Bieluch said we are all more vulnerable.
Connecticut's Department of Public Health has seeing an increase in flu cases, which has caused three deaths early in the season. There are many different strains of flu vaccines and while it’s not clear how effective this year’s vaccine will be, doctors believe a vaccine will at the very least lessen the symptoms if you get the flu.
"The influenza vaccine has three to four strains so even if you have one of those strains you could still get a case of influenza from that strain so it's important to get a vaccine even if you have the flu,” Bieluch said. "Never too late."
As of Dec. 16, DPH officials said there have been 355 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza in the state, which is an increase of 100 cases over the previous week.
Officials also said 144 patients were hospitalized with confirmed cases of influenza, including 46 new hospitalizations between Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.
Typical symptoms of the flu include fever, aching muscles, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, headache, and eye pain.
There are some people with allergies, especially those allergic to eggs who may have problems with the vaccine. The best thing to do is talk to your doctor.
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