The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that flu cases have begun to creep up in February, making it one of the latest starts to the influenza season in almost three decades.
There are a few flu strains circulating, including H1N1, but they match those chosen for inclusion in this year’s vaccine.
Officials at the CDC and at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene still strongly recommend that people get vaccinated if they haven’t already. They say it’s the most effective method of fighting off illness.
Flu season may usually peak in January and February but it does run into spring, and can last as late as May.
“Getting vaccinated is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Vaccine is still available in many locations, including doctors’ offices, pharmacies and local health departments,” said Frances Phillips, deputy secretary of public health services in Maryland. “It’s not too late to get vaccinated.”
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot. Children, seniors, pregnant women, those with chronic conditions and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable. Those caring for these groups, including health and day care workers also should be vaccinated.
And if you think you have the flu, stay home and drink plenty of fluids. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands often – that advice is good for everyone.
For more information about the seasonal influenza, go to the state's flu wesbsite.