BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) — If you haven’t already, it’s time to get your flu shots.
The Maryland Department of Health announced Tuesday the first confirmed cases of seasonal flu.
Two cases, one in an adult and one in a child, were confirmed by a laboratory test. The strains were type A (H1) and type B (Victoria).
The cases were from people in the central and eastern regions of the state.
“The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from becoming ill with influenza,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Fran Phillips, RN, MHA. “Getting vaccinated each year is important, because the strains of influenza that circulate change over time. This season, influenza vaccines have been updated to better match the circulating strains.”
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization and death.
It’s passed between people through coughing and sneezing and direct contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.
Symptoms include include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing, and sore throat and appear one to four days after exposure.
The health department recommends, the flu shot to anyone over the age of six months.
Here are the people they say are high-risk:
• Children younger than five, but especially children younger than two years old
• Persons 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 Alaska 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 to avoid spreading the disease to them. These persons include health care workers, household contacts of individuals at risk for complications from the flu, and daycare or school workers
If you believe you are ill with influenza:
• Contact your health care provider for management of flu symptoms or treatment of any complications
• Get rest and drink plenty of fluids
• Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing
• Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wash your hands often
• Avoid crowded places like shopping malls or public transportation
• Avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals or other settings where people with weakened conditions may be at risk of getting your flu as they could be severely affected
• Stay home from work or school whenever possible to avoid spreading the flu to your friends and coworkers
For more information regarding the 2018-2019 updated influenza vaccines and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vaccine recommendations, go to their website.