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Flu Cases 'Widespread,' Says Red Cross

Boston declared a public health emergency on Wednesday and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 18 flu-related deaths so far this season.

The Red Cross says there's still time for folks to get flu shots and be covered from what is considered to be a more active flu season. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said flu outbreaks are high for this time of the season, with "widespread activity" in Massachusetts.

Boston Mayor Tom Menino declared a public health emergency on Wednesday, boston.com reported, at the city has 700 confirmed cases of flu so far and four flu-related deaths. The state Department of Public Health reported 18 flu-related deaths so far this season.

How do you prevent the flu? If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some places in and near Stoneham that offer the flu vaccine.

According to the CDC, in addition to getting the vaccine, you can:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. 

How do you know if you have the virus?

Symptoms include: high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (which is more common in children).

When should you call the doctor?

According to the Red Cross, if you think you have the flu, your doctor should be consulted immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
  • Confusion or sudden dizziness.
  • Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
  • Not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting (children).
  • Fever with a rash (children).
  • No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal (children).

Did you get the flu or the flu shot? Tell us in the comments.

Tara January 09, 2013 at 06:03 PM
yes I got it. what I don't know b/c I have not read or heard but how does the flu finally go away?
Daniel DeMaina January 09, 2013 at 06:06 PM
If you mean why is there a "flu season" and then the flu kinda goes away when weather gets warmer again, here's a good article (link below): "Scientists have finally confirmed what your mother knew all along - that flu spreads best in cold, dry weather." http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12808-cold-weather-really-does-spread-flu.html
Tara January 10, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Thank you Daniel for the article! Then maybe the 50 degree weather will help rid of it?

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