BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The first flu cases of the season have been reported in Maryland, according to the state’s Department of Health.

The three laboratory-confirmed cases of seasonal influenza were diagnosed in adults in the Baltimore metro area.

One of the three individuals was hospitalized and subsequently released. The flu strain for all three was type A (H3).

Last season, the first confirmed case of influenza was reported a little earlier in the month, on Oct. 7.

Common symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing, and sore throat. Symptoms usually begin one to four days after being exposed to the virus.

The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from becoming ill with influenza, the Department of Health says. Yearly vaccinations are important because the strains of influenza that circulate change over time.

Influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of six months. It is especially important for individuals who are at high risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease, including:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old;
  • Adults 65 years of age and older;
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum);
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives;
  • Persons of any age with chronic medical conditions;
  • Persons undergoing therapy, or with a condition that may weaken their immune systems;
  • Persons caring for someone in these groups should also be vaccinated to avoid spreading the disease to them. These persons include healthcare workers, household contacts of individuals at risk for complications from the flu, and daycare or school workers.

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