SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – People have a good reason to be fearful more than ever that they may come down with the flu this winter. Hospitals across the country and right here in Southern New England are reporting a growing number of patients being treating for flu like illnesses.
The U.S has reported a sharp increase in cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity has been reported in every state. “We’re seeing a lot of people with the flu and we’re seeing a number of people who are really sick with the flu,” said Dr. Ira Helfand. Hospitals, like Mercy Medical Center, are taking additional measures, by imposing new restrictions on visitors to decrease the transmission of flu.
Dr. Ira Helfand of the Family Care Medical Center in Springfield told 22News, he’s been seeing an influx of patients with flu-like symptoms. Usually, flu activity is between December and February. “Most years, we don’t get a big peak in flu until late January, early February,” said Dr. Helfand. “This year, it started in December. We’re seeing lots of cases. A number of people have been quite sick with it.”
The elderly, young children, and those with underlying health problems should be monitored carefully for complications. At least 20 children have died from the flu so far this season. “If people have not had a flu shot, they should get one now,” Dr. Helfand told 22News. The CDC recommends that everyone six months old and older get vaccinated every season. So, if you do get the flu it won’t be as severe. Despite the shot being less effective this year, you should still get it.
Now if you have the flu, the sooner you start medication, the better. It’s an antiviral medicine, called Tamaflu, that’s taken orally. Its an antibiotic for the flu.