The Lynn Health Clinic has scheduled two flu clinics this month in response to widespread reporting of influenza around the state.
The federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported at the beginning of the month that Massachusetts in one of 25 states that had seen a significant increase in reported cases of flu prior to the end of 2013. A CDC designation of “widespread” means that more than 50 percent of a geographic region in a state is reporting the illness.
In November, less than 100 cases of the flu had been reported in Massachusetts, but by the end of December that total amount had doubled. With the increase in cases, the state is looking to increase vaccinations against the flu, in an effort to thwart the progress of the illness.
The Lynn Department of Health has reported that more 2,000 doses of vaccine have already been administered this season, but the department still has flu vaccine available.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the firs reports of the new year indicate that the reporting of flu-like illnesses is continuing to climb, and state officials expect the flu will continue to spread into March or later this year. The best protection against the flu is a flu vaccine.
Since the flu generally spreads easily from person to person through sneezes or by touching items – such as doorknobs and phones – that may have been infected by others, health officials recommend covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, wash your hands frequently and clean common objects with a household cleaner.
Healthcare professionals also recommend staying home when you feel ill, so that you don’t spread the illness to others.