AUGUSTA – The Maine Center for Disease Control is reporting that the latest data they have indicates 43 people in Maine have died from the flu this season. The February 13th surveillance report from Maine CDC, which covers the period ending on February 10, 2018, indicates 4 more deaths of Mainers were attributed to the flu in the past week.
The report also indicates that 76 long term care facilities across Maine have reported flu outbreaks, more than 800 Mainer have been hospitalized in this flu season, and that the federal flu code for Maine is: Widespread.
In the latest week of data, along with 4 deaths, there were 125 hospitalizations and 18 new outbreaks due to the flu.
So far this season there have been no pediatric influenza-associated deaths, but the report does indicate that children as young as 2 months old have been hospitalized with the flu.
Deaths attributed to influenza each year are largely among populations of elderly individuals and sometimes as a result of complications with other illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.
Maine CDC says to protect yourself from the flu, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing, and that alcohol based hand gels can also be used. Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes because germs can spread that way, and avoid contact with sick people.
They also recommend the flu vaccine, including talking to your health care provider about pneumococcal vaccine for anyone under the age of 5, over the age of 65, or of any age with high risk conditions.
The Maine CDC says if you have the flu, you should stay at home if you are sick until you are fever free for 24 hours without taking medicine, and make sure to cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, throwing tissues away immediately.
Most people can stay home to recover without seeing a doctor, they say, but anyone with the flu who experiences dehydration, trouble breathing, any major change in condition, or getting better then suddenly getting a lot worse should seek medical attention.
For a list of links to Maine CDC flu surveillance reports, click here.