CDC lists Massachusetts as one of the top states reporting widespread flu activity

Health

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The CDC is seeing more influenza infections.

According to the Department of Public health, flu-like illnesses have spiked in Massachusetts over the past seven days.

Their message to you: its not too late for that flu shot. The CDC lists Massachusetts is among 12 states reporting widespread flu activity.

Dr. R.F Conway, an AEIOU in Greenfield and Amherst, told 22News, “Well we started getting more positive flu test within the last two weeks.”

There are two strains of flu: “A” and “B.” “Strain A” is very contagious, and it also accounts for 90-percent of flu cases.

Dr. Conway told 22News this year’s flu shot is not as effective against the “A” strain, “Well they usually look at flu around the world and experts come together and try to figure out which particular strain of flu it’s going to be this year. This year they guessed, ok, but not quite as effective as they have been in the past.”

The flu shot is still your best protection against the virus, but it takes two weeks to become effective.

“It does make it difficult to swallow,” said Gary Roy of Greenfield.

Flu symptoms often mimic cold symptoms.  A common cold usually starts with a sore throat, which can make swallowing difficult. Other symptoms include, running nose and chest congestion. Symptoms last anywhere from a few days to a week. Flu symptoms are much more severe.

“I may have a cold, but it’s pretty severe for a cold and the sore throat is more severe than normal. I really have to medicate myself for pain. It’s severe enough that it literally keeps me up at night,” said Roy.

In addition to that flu shot, frequent hand-washing will help keep you from catching the flu.

Dr. Conway said if you’re experiencing a high fever and shortness of breath, you should see your doctor right away.

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