With influenza widespread in Connecticut and three flu-related deaths reported this season in the state, the Department of Public Health is advising residents to get a flu shot.
Flu activity has rapidly increased in the past two weeks and has contributed to the deaths of three individuals in Connecticut over the age of 65 so far this season, the State Department of Public Health said.
While the increase in flu activity and deaths is not unusual for this time of year, DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino strongly urged people who have not yet had a flu shot to get one.
"With the winter months and holidays bringing people together, typically indoors, people need to protect themselves from bringing home a present that no one wants: the flu. It is not too late to get the flu vaccination, and people should not be deterred from getting the shot because of recent reports that the vaccine hasn’t been as effective in other parts of the world," said Pino.
"While we don’t yet know how effective this year’s vaccine will be, we do know that the flu shot will give people more protection against the flu, and at the very least will lessen the symptoms if flu is contracted, than not having the shot at all."
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that is spread through the air and by direct contact with respiratory droplets.
Typical symptoms of the flu include sudden fever, aching muscles, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, headache, and eye pain.
While anyone, particularly individuals who are not vaccinated, can contract the flu, the illness is especially dangerous for certain groups, including people age 65 and older; children younger than 2; people of any age with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, or lung disease; and pregnant women.
As of Dec. 16, 355 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza have been reported in Connecticut, an increase of 100 cases over the previous week.
A total of 144 Connecticut patients have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of influenza, including 46 new hospitalizations between Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.
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