Bangor City Officials Address Local Flu Impact

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - According to the Maine CDC, the flu is widespread in Maine.

Bangor city officials and representatives from local and state health organizations gathered today to discuss the local impact the flu is having this season.

Alyssa Thurlow reports.

"We are certainly seeing and have seen more hospitalizations related to influenza this year than certainly we did at the same time last year," explained Siiri Bennett of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Maine health officials, 28 people have died from the flu this season with four deaths in just the last week.

Bangor city officials and health representatives from around the state met to discuss the impact of the flu season and what precautions folks should be taking.

"There are things that you can do as an individual to reduce your risk of getting the flu, and as covered by my colleagues, it's things like wash your hands, cover your cough, stay home if you're sick, and by all means, please get vaccinated," said Bennett.

According to the CDC, there were 90 new flu-related hospitalizations in the state by the end of last week, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of the flu to over 2,300 this season.

Health officials say every season is unpredictable, but generally they see an uptick in cases from December to March.

Mary Right is a nurse for the Bangor School Department. she says those at higher risk are the elderly and school aged children.

"We ask that parents really pay attention to those little things that will support us to take good care of their children," explained Right. "If your child has a temperature greater than 100, keep them home and monitor that fever. Flu is a quick on-set event."

Doctors say the symptoms are lasting longer this year, and it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"Any protection is better than none," said Bennett. "Yes, there are other strands that are not covered by the vaccine, they are much less common, but they are out there, so if you get the flu it does not necessarily mean that the vaccine is not effective. It may have been protecting you from the strands in which it were designed."

Bennett says if you think you have the flu, get to a doctor right away. They can prescribe Tamiflu within the first 24 to 48 hours.