BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today said the flu season has started earlier than usual and recommended that people take steps to prevent the spread of flu.
“Every flu season is different, but usually cases of influenza reach their peak in January, February, or even March,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel. “This year, we are seeing a very rapid increase in influenza-like illness across Massachusetts, along with an increase in confirmed flu cases. This suggests that Massachusetts may be having an earlier start. It is important that we all take steps to prevent flu from spreading, including getting a flu shot because it is among the best protection we have.”
Dec. 3-9 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, an awareness week focused on highlighting the importance of flu vaccination.
As a reminder, DPH recommends that people get the flu vaccine as soon as possible; wash their hands thoroughly and regularly, or use hand sanitizer; cover their coughs and sneezes; stay home when they are sick with fever and cough or sore throat, if possible; and talk to their healthcare provider if they think they have the flu, especially if they have health concerns that make them more likely to develop severe illness when sick with the flu. The doctor may prescribe antiviral medications, which work best when started early in the course of illness.