HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - Massachusetts is in the grip of a severe flu epidemic.
At Holyoke Medical Center, there has been a volume of flu cases not seen in nearly ten years. Carol Wojnarowski, Holyoke Medical Center's Manager of Infectious Control, said that she frankly doesn't know why this year's flu strain is getting so many people down compared with last year, when the flu took such a small toll
"This year, we are clearly seeing people who have been vaccinated and vaccinated in an appropriate amount of time. Several weeks ago and several months ago, and some of these folks are getting flu symptoms," she said.
Older people are, as they always have been, the most susceptible to the chills, body aches, and high fever that comes with the flu.
To protect their patients of all ages, Springfield area hospitals have been on high alert to prevent them from coming in contact with virus-carrying visitors.
Wojnarowski told 22News that when you touch your face after touching the surface a common object, like a supermarket shopping cart for example, you're touching what's been touched by hundreds of people; some of whom could have viral contamination.
The best protection beyond getting a flu shot is keeping your hands away from your face.
"I try to avoid touching my face. Or shaking hands with someone I'm not sure of. I noticed my Doctors don't shake hands anymore," Paul Biscsti of Longmeadow said.
The end of the flu season is still two months away, and for those who haven't gotten their flu shot, Wojnarowski said, it's not too late.