Flu Is Widespread In Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) reports that cases of influenza illnesses in the state have been steadily increasing and as of last week, was widespread in the state. Healthcare facilities are reporting flu outbreaks and HEALTH Laboratories have confirmed the presence of antiviral-resistant influenza in Rhode Island.
HEALTH tracks influenza activity in the state and reports it to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) on a weekly basis.
“The best and easiest way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated,” said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “There is still flu vaccine available for children and adults in the state. If you have not gotten a flu vaccination this flu season, get one now. Some of the strains of flu we are seeing are antiviral-resistant, so a vaccination is your best line of defense.”
Every year, some 36,000 people in the United States die from influenza and its complications. In the 2008/2009 flu season, 32 children in the United States have died from the flu. (Rhode Island has not had any reported pediatric deaths from flu.) HEALTH provides flu vaccine to all providers in the state at no charge.
Anyone who wants to protect themselves from getting the flu should get a flu vaccination every year. CDC also recommends that it is especially important for the following groups of high-risk individuals to get an annual vaccination:
* Anyone with chronic health conditions or anyone who cares for them
* Anyone who cares for infants younger than six months of age
* Children ages 6 months to 19 years of age
* Any woman who is pregnant
* Anyone age 50 and older
* Anyone who has a weakened immune system
* Anyone who lives in a long-term care facility
* Any healthcare worker or household contact who provides direct patient care