Early flu season in Western MA prompts early flu shots - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Early flu season in Western MA prompts early flu shots

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(Western Mass News file photo) (Western Mass News file photo)

Flu season has started earlier than usual here in Massachusetts.

The Department of Public Health is recommending that people get their flu shots sooner rather than later.

This, as a local doctor told us more flu cases do not necessarily mean the vaccine is ineffective.

Every flu season is different, and the flu shot every year is different too.

But peak flu season usually begins between January and March.

With an uptick now, that means the season has started early here in western Massachusetts,

Brooke miller of Agawam told Western Mass News that she doesn't always get her flu shot.

But this year, she's getting her vaccine.

And that's good news, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, because flu season has started early.

The DPH recommends:

  • You get your flu shot as soon as possible
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Stay home when you're sick
  • If you have any symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Those symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Feeling very tired

Doctor Daniel Skiest told Western Mass News that there's been a rise in flu cases, not only across the state, but also at Baystate Medical Center.

"The best ways to protect yourself: Number one, get a flu shot, and number two, get a flu shot."

According to a release by the DPH:

"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."

Dr. Skiest told Western Mass News that it's too early in the season to know the exact effectiveness of this year's vaccine, but it can't hurt to get one.

In fact, the flu can be very serious for elderly people, pregnant women, infants and, especially for people who have asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and weakened immune systems.

And according to the Department of Public Health, every year in the United States, millions of people get the flu, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands die from flu-related illnesses.

Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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