Friday, October 12, 2018

Flu Season Arrives - Vaccinations Are Available

Today is the start of the state’s flu surveillance monitoring and reporting for the 2018-2019 season. Already, since the start of September, Massachusetts has had nearly 80 lab-confirmed flu cases reported, well within the expected range for this time of year.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials are recommending that everyone take steps to prevent the spread of flu by getting vaccinated.

DPH recommends that you:

  • Get the flu vaccine as soon as possible. 
  • Wash hands thoroughly, use hand sanitizer when washing is not possible.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. 
  • Stay home when sick with fever and cough or sore throat, and keep children home from school and daycare when sick. 
  • Contact a healthcare provider promptly if you think that you have the flu.
Flu can be very serious. The most common symptoms of flu are fever, cough, and sore throat. Symptoms can also include body aches, headache, chills, runny nose and feeling very tired. Every year in the United States, millions of people get the flu, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands of people or tens of thousands die from flu-related illnesses. Those at higher risk of serious health problems when they get the flu include pregnant women, infants, the elderly and people with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, neurological and neuromuscular conditions and weakened immune systems.

Flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu-associated death by half among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and by nearly two-thirds among healthy children. Nationwide, there were 180 pediatric deaths from the flu last year and approximately 80 percent of those who died did not receive a flu vaccine.

Flu vaccine is available across the state at multiple locations, including health care provider offices, pharmacies, school and workplace vaccination clinics, and flu vaccine clinics sponsored by local boards of health. A list of flu vaccine availability based on zip code can be found at