Flu cases confirmed in all three counties

DOVER — Flu cases have been confirmed in all three counties, the state said Monday.
So far, just three cases have been positively identified, but health officials are calling for Delawareans to get flu vaccines.

“With flu cases confirmed in all three counties, we are urging Delawareans not to delay getting their flu vaccine,” Division of Public Health Director Karyl Rattay said in a statement. “Vaccination is not just about protecting yourself, it’s also about protecting your children who are quite vulnerable to effects of the flu, other family members and those with whom you work.”

Monday’s announcement comes just six days after the state revealed the first laboratory-confirmed case of the year. The victim in that case was an 8-year-old from New Castle County, while the other two instances involve a 26-year-old woman in Kent and a 7-year-old boy in Sussex.

The flu vaccine is recommended for Delawareans at least 6 months of age. Because it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against the flu virus to develop in the body, it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible.

A list of clinics offered by DPH is available at https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html. Free flu vaccines may also be offered through physician offices, pharmacies and grocery stores.
Vaccinations not only prevent people from getting the flu but can also reduce the severity of the illness.

Delaware recorded almost 6,400 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in the 2018-2019 season, with 24 deaths and more than 1,000 hospitalizations. The state experienced a record 9,051 cases, as well as 35 deaths, the prior season.
The flu spreads easily, and symptoms come on suddenly. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, cough, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms should see a health care provider and otherwise stay home from school or work until they are fever-free.

Individuals battling the flu should stay hydrated.
Delawareans can help prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illness with good hygiene. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, as well as covering coughs with a tissue or your inner elbow, helps. Individuals should also avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.

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