Flu continues to plague Delaware

DOVER — Delaware has had five flu-related deaths over the past week, officials announced Monday, bringing the seasonlong total up to 23.

The single-season record for the state is 28, set three years ago.

There were 1,521 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases from Feb. 11 to Feb. 18, according to the Division of Public Health. The total number of flu cases for this season is now 5,758, a record since the state began keeping statistics in 2004-2005.

The latest deaths all involved individuals with underlying health conditions. The deceased ranged in age from 62 to 86 and included one from Kent County, one from Sussex County and three from New Castle County.

“I cannot stress strongly enough that people should continue to stay home while sick, contact their doctor at first sign of illness and continue to engage in frequent hand-washing and covering of coughs and sneezes to prevent the spread of the flu virus,” DPH Director Karyl Rattay said in a statement. “Flu is still very much active in our state.”

Anyone with persistent and serious flu symptoms, such as chills, a fever, a cough or a sore throat, should see a doctor or go to a walk-in center. Visiting an emergency room is not advised.

Individuals with extreme symptoms, such as trouble breathing, bluish skin color, fever with a rash, dizzness or severe vomiting should seek immediate medical help.

Anyone feeling ill should not to go work or school unless they are fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of medication.

Flu activity is expected to remain high for several weeks.

“Delawareans should not take any initial discussions of flu season peaking nationally as an indicator that they should relax the preventive measures we have been discussing. Flu will continue to circulate widely in our state for weeks to come,” said Dr. Rattay.

DPH states it is still not too late to get a flu shot.

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