Four children in Maryland have been diagnosed with the virus.
Officials with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene say four children in Maryland have been diagnosed with seasonal influenza. Three of them had type A (H3N2) influenza, while one had type B. "Symptoms usually begin one to four days after being exposed to the virus," said Darlene Armacost, Program Manager for Communicable Diseases & Preparedeness, Frederick County Health Department. "Typically, an individual is going to have fever, body aches, fatigue and or sore throat," she added.
The Frederick County Health Department is offering a free flu clinic on Wednesday, October 24th. "It's from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., for children six months to 17 years of age. But you have to call and make an appointment. The number is 301-600-3342. If you can't make it on that day, we will arrange for another day," continued Armacost.
The virus that causes influenza spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing, as well as through direct contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces or objects.
Yearly vaccinations are important because the strains of influenza that circulate change over time. This season’s vaccine is aimed at three strains that are expected to be most prevalent this season: Type A /California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus, Type A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus, and Type B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus.
Influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of six months. It is especially important for individuals who are at high risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease, including:
· Children 6 months to 18 years of age;
· Persons 50 years of age and older;
· Pregnant women;
· Persons of any age with chronic medical conditions; and
· Persons undergoing therapy, or with a condition that may weaken their immune systems.
Persons caring for someone in these groups should also be vaccinated to avoid spreading the disease to them. These persons include healthcare workers, household contacts of individuals at risk for complications from the flu, and daycare or school workers.
Contact your healthcare provider, local health department, or neighborhood pharmacy to get vaccinated.
If you believe you are ill with influenza:
· Contact your healthcare provider for management of flu symptoms or treatment of any complications.
· Get rest and drink plenty of fluids.
· Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
· Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wash your hands often.
· Avoid crowded places like shopping malls or public transportation.
Avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals or other settings where people with other conditions may get your flu and be affected severely. Stay home from work or school whenever possible to avoid spreading the flu to your friends and coworkers.