According to recent news reports, the flu has reached epidemic levels in Maine. Is it too late to get flu shots in Maine? No, not at all too late, because it looks like the flu will be around for at least another two months.
The Maine Center for Disease Control reports that there have been at least 32 outbreaks so far this season, most of them in long term care facilities. The flu can be really dangerous to elders and very small children and others with underdeveloped or compromised immune systems.
Where can you get flu shots in Maine? Take a look at www.flu.gov to find a place near you that gives flu shots in Maine. Medicare covers flu shots once a season.
• A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
• A cough and/or sore throat
• A runny or stuffy nose
• Headaches and/or body aches
• Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (more likely in children)
Kids can run a very high fever (104o F) sometimes on and off for days.
Who needs flu shots in Maine?
It’s really important to get a flu shot if you work in a senior community or visit one regularly. It may help you avoid getting the flu and carrying it into a vulnerable population. Many senior care facilities are giving high-risk residents antivirals like tamaflu as a precaution. Seasonal flu vaccines actually have a good safety record and are usually updated annually to cover changes in the virus. It’s also especially important to get the vaccine if you’re at high risk for complications, or live with someone at high risk.
Meanwhile, WASH YOUR HANDS frequently, avoid close quarters and public places, stay away from people who have the flu if you can, and get rest. Do all the right general health activities, like drinking plenty of water, eating right and getting exercise. You want to stay as healthy as you can to ward off the virus, or get through a bout with as few setbacks as possible.
The flu is supposed to peak in January and February, so we still have at least 7 weeks of what appears to be a very strong flu season ahead of us. Keep washing your hands, go get a flu shot immediately, and then continue your safety precautions. Use the sanitizers the grocery stores provide on the handles and seats of your shopping cart, and try to keep your hands away from your face.
If you do get the flu, get plenty of rest and lay low until you feel better. You’re contagious a day BEFORE you feel sick, and about 4-5 days after you get sick, so stay home! Even if you feel better on day five, remember that you might be a light case, and someone else might not be as lucky.