CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has marked the severity of influenza very high in their latest report posted Friday.
From December 18 to December 24, the percentage of doctor visits for influenza-like illnesses is 8.03 percent, for perspective the regional baseline is 2 percent. The percent of hospitalizations for the flu was 5.07 percent, which is higher than the previous three seasons of the same week.
All regions of the state are experiencing flu activity, according to the DPH. Influenza A is being seen in larger amounts than Influenza B. The state’s vaccination rate for all ages is 42 percent.
Massachusetts ranked very high for flu
The CDC has also ranked Massachusetts as one of the highest flu activity levels in the country, which also includes Maine, New York City, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, and Idaho.
The following information is provided by the Massachusetts Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences:
What are the symptoms of flu?
The most common symptoms of flu are fever, cough, and sore throat. Symptoms can also include body aches, headache, chills, runny nose and feeling very tired. Some people, especially young children, also have diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms last from a few days to up to a week or more.
How do I know if I have the flu?
If you have a fever with a cough or sore throat, you may have the flu. If you think you have the flu, stay home from work and school and avoid contact with others so you do not spread the virus. If you think you might have flu and you need to see your doctor, call ahead and let them know you might have the flu. That way, your doctor’s office can take steps to avoid the spread of flu to others. The doctor may recommend that you be tested for flu.
How can I prevent getting the flu?
- Get flu vaccine every year as soon as it is available.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the inside of your elbow if you don’t have a tissue. Throw tissues away and wash your hands. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Use household cleaners to clean things that are touched often, like doorknobs, toys, and phones.
- Avoid close physical contact with people who are sick. Try to stay at least 3-6 feet from someone who is sick with the flu.
- Stay home from work and school if you get sick with a flu-like illness (fever with cough or sore throat) and avoid contact with others so the virus does not spread.
- Stay at home until you have been free from fever for at least 24 hours after your last dose of fever-reducing medication (like Tylenol, Advil or Motrin). For most people this will mean staying at home for about 4 days.