The flu’s been in the news quite a bit lately.
First the Red Cross reported flu cases were “widespread,” then Boston Mayor Tom Menino went and declared the flu outbreak a health emergency after his city saw a tenfold increase in flu cases over last year.
Here in Lexington, there have been 12 confirmed cases of flu so far in January, according to Public Health Director Gerard Cody.
“Communities across Massachusetts are reporting increased amounts of flu-like illness,” Cody said, “And hospitals, community health centers and health care providers are seeing higher volumes of flu patients in their facilities.”
Vaccination remains the best protection against the flu, according to Cody, who said 2,445 residents have been vaccinated at clinics offered by the Lexington Health Division, in partnership with the Lexington Public School Nurses, Medical Reserve Corps, town administrators and the Human Services, Police and Fire departments.
“Get vaccinated,” Cody said. “It’s not too late and it offers the best protection against the flu.”
Cody also offered a few other tips folks concerned about the flu, like: Stay home when sick; wash your hands frequently throughout the day and cover your cough.
“Remember, you can pass the flu to a loved one even if you are not symptomatic with flu-like illness,” Cody wrote in an email to Patch. “Keep your family, friends and community healthy by getting vaccinated. Also, stay at home when you are sick. It will help you recover faster and will not make others at work or school sick. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day. Cover your cough with either the inside of your sleeve or a tissue.”
Another resource Cody points to as a means for helping reduce the impact of flu is the Massachusetts Department of Public Health brochure “Flu: What You Can Do – Caring for People at Home,” an informational resource to help residents care for themselves and their families without having to visit their health care provider. The brochure is posted in PDF form above.
For more information, to be vaccinated or to receive a free copy of “Caring for People at Home, Flu – What you can Do ” please contact the Office of Community Development, Health Division, Gerard Cody, Health Director at 781-862-0500 x 237. You may also visit, www.flu.gov/ or www.mass.gov/flu.