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Flu still running rampant through most ME counties

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Know flu symptoms how to protect self         Herald Staff     Wednesday

The child was an Essex County resident.

Welch added that he expects to see high rates of flu continue for the next several weeks.

Haverhill school superintendent James Scully sent a message home to parents urging anyone with kids who haven't been vaccinated to take advantage of the city's free flu shots.

Based on current trends, the number of child deaths could exceed the 148 reported for the especially severe 2014-2015 season, when the same strain was dominant and the vaccine's poor match resulted in overall effectiveness of 19 percent.

The findings, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), come as no surprise to flu experts tracking the worst influenza season in a decade.

Comparing not getting a flu shot to riding in a auto without a seatbelt, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Alex Azar, stressed that there is still time for every American over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot.

"This is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be for some people, " state Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a statement.

Dynette Rombough, director of Emergency Department Services for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge, said the hospital is seeing "extensive flu cases in the emergency department, especially compared to past year".

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People who live, work, or interact with higher-risk populations are recommended to get the flu vaccine to protect those who are more at risk.

Almost 3,000 Americans have died from influenza or flu-related complications since the flu season began in October, including 107 Pennsylvanians.

"It's hard to know how many missed because of illness or weather or because of the delay", Graham said. Symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.

Those worst affected were children and young teenagers as well as people over 65.

However, to suggest that Tamiflu is responsible for the increased number of deaths is at best illogical, as the symptoms that would accompany the behavioral changes (hallucinations, seizures, speech problems) would be obvious even to the most untrained medical professional.

For more information call the Metro Public Health Department at 615-340-5616 or visit their website. In CDC parlance, it means that getting the shot reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by 36 percent. People should stay at home until they have gone 24 hours without fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications.

A flu warning sign and a hand sanitizer station now greet visitors in the lobby of Cooper University Hospital in Camden as the hospital deals with an unusually busy flu season.

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