Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Editorial: Flu activity picking up in Maryland, still time to get vaccinated

Did you make it through the holidays without getting a cold or the flu? During the second-to-last week of 2018, influenza-like illnesses being reported in outpatient clinics in Maryland was among the highest rates in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks flu activity.

Things have calmed down since then, according to CDC data, but the worst is still to come, local health officials say.


“Based on previous trends, we know there is going to be an increase … but we are fortunate we haven’t hit it yet,” Dr. Henry Taylor, deputy health officer at the Carroll County Health Department, told us late last week. “That’s really good news for the community, because it means it’s not too late to get your [flu] shot.”

October and early November is considered the sweet spot for getting a flu shot by local health officials, because the vaccine should last into the spring months, when flu season finally tapers off around Maryland. But if you haven’t received your shot yet, as Taylor notes, there is still an opportunity to do so before the virus hits its peak, usually in January, February and March.


Children, older adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems and with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, asthma or lung disease, are the most susceptible to the flu virus and are more likely to suffer complications from contracting flu.

Carroll County Daily Headlines


Get the day's top news and sports headlines.

Not only does getting vaccinated protect you from the flu, but when more people get the flu shot, it helps prevent the virus’ spread through herd immunity.

Influenza shouldn’t be taken lightly. The CDC reported 185 U.S. children died due to the flu in the 2017-2018 season, with approximately 80 percent of those deaths in children who had not been vaccinated. The flu can even prove fatal for otherwise healthy adults.

All flu vaccines currently on the market protect against the H1N1 flu strain, sometimes referred to as the swine flu, which is thus far the predominant strain of the virus found in Carroll County and across the U.S., health experts say.

You can get these vaccines from your family physician or, if you don’t want to wait for an appointment, there are dozens of pharmacies and clinics in Carroll County or nearby that offer no-appointment-needed flu shots. For a comprehensive list of places offering the flu vaccine, the Health Department maintains a website, which also includes additional information about the flu. Just call first to make sure they have the vaccine in stock and that they’ll take your health insurance before you go.

Remember, no vaccine is 100 percent effective, so even if you’ve received your flu shot, it’s still a good idea to practice proper hygiene such as washing your hands frequently with warm, soapy water; covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze; and keeping your distance from others when you feel like you might be coming down with something.

If you get sick, stay home from work if you can to keep from spreading your germs to others. Health officials say to stay home until you’re fever-free at least 24 hours.