SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Confirmed cases of the flu continue to climb across the country.

With schools closed for winter break this week, it's a good time for parents to try and keep their kids healthy.

The state's Department of Public Health said a second wave of the flu is hitting Massachusetts.

Doctors said step one in staying healthy - get your flu shot, it's not too late - and stay away from people who are showing any cold or flu-like symptoms.

"It’s still out there. It still has to be on the parents radar screen," said Dr. John O'Reilly with Baystate Children's Hospital.

Sneezing, coughing, aches and fevers — the flu is still wreaking havoc across the country, including in the Commonwealth.

Last week, state health officials reported a 6.27 percent increase in cases.

"It’s an interesting week now because school is out, so in some ways, without all the kids together coughing on each other, the number of cases will probably dwindle, but there’s still going to be issues of hotspots in the community. When you take your kids to that Legoland or trampoline park, kids are still not good about not coughing into their sleeves and sharing and all that sort of thing, so as a parent, you want to keep your kid away from other sick kids," O'Reilly noted.

O’Reilly told Western Mass News they started administering the vaccine in October and their clinic is still giving around two dozen shots a day.

"Every kid that I saw today for a wellness visit that needed a flu shot, we got the flu shot," O'Reilly explained.

Pharmacists at Louis and Clark in Springfield are also seeing their fair share of the flu.

"Right now, we see a lot of prescriptions for anti-virals for the flu. Usually, it’s a seven to 10 day supply prescription for Tamiflu. That’s definitely a lot. That’s out of the usual. There were days that we saw six or seven patients that got the same prescription. There I was one day, I kept getting Tamiflu, Tamiflu, Tamiflu. Basically, at this season, what’s the best recommendation is to get the flu vaccine," said Louis and Clark pharmacist Haider Abdulridha.

Now with the flu and even coronavirus going around right now, a lot of people will wear surgical masks to help protect themselves. Pharmacists said if you have the flu, a normal surgical mask is fine, That will help protect other people around you.

However, if you are healthy and trying to protect yourself, you need to get a N95 mask. It helps put a tighter seal around your mouth and nose.

As always, wash your hands and cover your mouth with your sleeve when you cough.

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Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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