The annual flu season is in full swing, and according to the Maine Center for Disease Control widespread flu activity has been confirmed throughout the state. But here in Aroostook County, compared to last year’s flu season, this year’s hasn’t been so bad– yet. News Source 8’s Angela Christoforos reports…
FLU SEASON. Two words everyone dreads around this time of year. According to the Maine CDC, widespread laboratory cases have been confirmed in all counties. But compared to last year’s flu season in the County, this year hasn’t been so bad just yet.
Director of Critical Care and Emergency Services at TAMC Daryl Boucher said, “We were in disaster mode for several weeks last year, because of a lack of beds and just the sheer number of people we were seeing and we haven’t had the impact at all this year.”
Medical staff at TAMC say they believe the numbers so far this year are lower in comparison to last year’s because higher percentages of people have gotten immunizations; and the vaccine is more effective against the common flu strain this year, H1N1.
“All of the strains are equally dangerous and there are many many strains out there, and so the CDC in developing the immunizations try to pick the strains they think are most likely to be present in a particular flu season,” said Boucher.
Emergency Department Medical Director at TAMC Peter Goth said, “About a third of community members have been vaccinated and two thirds have not. The best way to treat it is actually to prevent it, treatment is not nearly as effective as preventing.”
Washing your hands is one of the simplest ways to prevent spreading the flu. The Maine CDC also recommends covering your cough, staying home when you are sick, and getting the flu shot. If you haven’t yet, it’s not too late. And although flu season in the County is so far so good., hold that thought because we’ve still got a couple months to go till it’s over.
Another spike in the flu season is expected during the months of February and March. Medical personnel in the County are hopeful it won’t be nearly as bad as last year’s flu season due to an increase in flu immunizations this year.