BANGOR – We’re already well into flu season, and officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention have now reported the first influenza-related death of the season.
Before it even arrived, Maine medical officials predicted this flu season was going to be tougher than what we’ve seen in years past.
“This flu season is a little bit unusual because it hit the United States earlier than we usually see, and particularly here in Maine we’re seeing it much earlier than we normally would,” said Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center Senior V.P. & Physician Executive Dr. James Jarvis.
He says the young and the old are most vulnerable, and the easiest way to protect yourself is through vaccinations.
“It’s never too late to get your vaccination,” Dr. Jarvis said. “I will say that it takes about two weeks to reach its maximum effectiveness, so there is that period after getting your vaccine that you still may be able to catch the virus or that the symptoms will be severe.”
He added that washing your hands on a regular basis and using hand sanitizer are some of the easiest preventative measures when it comes to the flu.
“Particularly if you’re touching surfaces that other individuals have touched, like a public phone, a doorknob…things like that where the virus can live for a few hours and spread that way,” said Dr. Jarvis.
He also says we’re seeing both type A and B influenza already, which isn’t typical this early in the season. He says if anything, things will get worse before they get better.
“[If] anybody is having any issues with breathing or inability to keep fluids down those people should seek attention right away,” Dr. Jarvis said.
For more tips on how to stay healthy this flu season you can visit maineflu.gov.