Influenza Widespread In Maine - December 2012
Influenza activity in Maine has steadily increased in November and December. Influenza A/H3 and influenza B have been confirmed in Maine indicating both strains are circulating. Maine CDC has followed up on 13 outbreaks of influenza as of Tuesday December 18th. Influenza hospitalizations are also being reported, indicating the severity of illness this influenza season. One pediatric death attributed to influenza was reported to Maine CDC last week. Influenza vaccination is still strongly encouraged and is widely available, especially to protect those persons at risk of more severe disease. The vaccine appears to be a good match to the circulating strains this year, and it is not too late to get vaccinated.
This year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is recommending that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine and ample supplies of influenza vaccine are now available. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immune response. Get vaccinated now so that you will be protected when flu season begins.
Where can I get a flu shot?
The Maine CDC suggests people find vaccine through possible avenues: call your health care provider; Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County, call 211; or check http://www.maineflu.gov for a list of public clinics.
A few area pharmacies are offering flu vaccination. If interested please call them directly for availability, time and location.
Everyday Prevention Tips
• Stay home if you are sick, until you are fever-free for a full 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicine.
• Cough and sneeze into your elbow, or into a tissue. Throw this tissue away.
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, but especially after coughing and sneezing. Alcohol-based hand gels can also be used.
• Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes. Germs can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Avoid contact with sick people. If you are at very high risk for complication, you may want to avoid large crowds.
• Contact your health care provider if there are flu-like symptoms in a household where anyone is younger than 2 years old, 65 years or older, pregnant, and/or has an underlying medical condition. There are prescription medicines (antivirals such as Tamiflu®) that may help.
• Although most people can stay home without seeing a health care provider, anyone with the flu should seek medical attention for:
o Dehydration; Trouble breathing; Getting better, then suddenly getting a lot worse; Any major change in one’s condition
Related ResourcesGreater Franklin County Flu Hotline
Maine Public Call-in Number
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention