Widespread Flu Cases Send More Patients To Maryland Hospitals

BALTIMORE, MD — If someone in your house has body aches, a high fever, sore throat and stomach issues then your family, like many across Maryland, has been hit by the flu. More cases of the flu were reported across the state in the past two weeks, says the Centers for Disease Control. Flu cases soared and remain widespread in Maryland as of Dec. 30 tallies.

Nationwide, three pediatric flu-related deaths were reported the week of Dec. 23. The number of states reporting widespread flu activity — which includes Maryland — has increased over the two weeks from 22 to 46 states, according to the CDC.

For the week ending Dec. 30, Maryland and Virginia were among 46 states that reported widespread flu activity. That means Maryland saw outbreaks of flu or increased influenza-like illness, including recent laboratory confirmed influenza statewide, with more than 120 people requiring hospital care for the flu in Maryland. Local influenza activity was reported by the District of Columbia.

“Widespread” means flu or flu-like illness has been confirmed in at least half the regions in the state over a three-week period.

The flu season typically runs from October to May with the peak between December and February. The Maryland Department of Health urges everyone six months of age or older to get a flu shot.

If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, there’s still time to do so. Not sure where you can get one? Use the vaccine finder to find a provider near you.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists healthy habits to undertake to try and prevent the flu. Those include:

1. Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

3. Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Practice other good health habits.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Symptoms of flu include:

  • fever (usually high)
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle aches
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults.

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