NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The flu season is upon us. Some doctors are seeing a slight uptick of patients coming in with the flu. The Connecticut Department of Public Health reports local flu activity. Typically the flu season hits its peak in January and February.
Getting a flu shot is the best protection from coming down with symptoms like feeling achy, coughing, fatigue and a high fever.
If you’ve put if off, now is a good time to get vaccinated.
“We are starting to see a few patients with flu. We know that in the next number of weeks, we expect to see many, many more patients with the flu,” said Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Rick Martinello at Yale-New Haven Hospital. “Each year we see thousands of people, sometimes even in the upwards of 40-45,000 people in the United States dying of the flu each year.”
The most vulnerable, the elderly, the young, pregnant women and others with compromised immune systems.
A mismatched vaccine led to widespread cases last flu season.
Dr. Martinello said, “It is difficult to predict exactly which strains of flu will be circulating during any given year. So far this year, we do think that the vaccine is well matched against the strains of flu that are circulating.”
He stressed while the flu vaccine is not perfect, it does help to minimize symptoms.
“It’s thought to be about in general about 60 percent effective in preventing people from getting sick, but if you don’t get vaccinated, there’s no benefit at all. So getting vaccinated is still the best thing you can do to help prevent yourself from getting the flu.”
No reminder needed for Michelle Benish, waiting in the emergency department.
“I get the flu shot every year,” said Michelle. “I actually work as a health care provider in a hospital so I feel like that it’s my responsibility to make sure that I do everything to keep myself healthy.”
Despite the peak season looming, doctors say it’s not too late to get that flu shot.
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over the age of six months.
If you do get hit by the flu, Dr. Martinello says stay home if you are sick. Also, be sure to wash your hands and cover your mouth if you’re coughing or sneezing.