INDIANAPOLIS – Influenza and flu-like symptoms are hitting Hoosiers harder and earlier than usual, according to the most recent weekly flu report from the Indiana State Department of Health.
Since November, seven deaths caused by influenza have been reported. This time last year, there had been no influenza-related deaths.
“We are now well into what appears to be a somewhat severe flu season,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D. “However, it is absolutely not too late to become vaccinated. If you have not been vaccinated this year, I encourage you to get vaccinated now to protect you and your family.”
This year’s vaccine protects against H3N2, H1N1, and Influenza B. So far, H3N2 is the most predominant influenza strain, but the 2012-2013 vaccine appears to be a good match for all circulating flu strains. Flu vaccination is recommended for anyone 6 months of age or older.
Symptoms of the flu include:
- Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
It is especially important for those at higher risk of complications related to the flu to become vaccinated. High risk individuals include pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses and/or compromised immune systems and the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that all health care workers become vaccinated each year to protect themselves and their patients.
Some other tips to help protect against the spread of influenza include:
- Clean. Properly wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
- Cover. Cover your cough and sneeze with your arm or a disposable tissue.
- Contain. Stay home from school/work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading.
For more information about the 2012-2013 influenza season, visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website.