PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) reminds all Rhode Islanders that it is not too late to be vaccinated against influenza. The declaration of widespread flu incidence in Rhode Island, issued by the Director of Health on Dec. 5, 2012, remains in effect.
"We continue to see a steady increase in the number of hospitalizations for influenza in Rhode Island," said Michael Fine, MD, director of HEALTH. "We expect that influenza cases may continue to rise during the next few weeks, but the good news for all Rhode Islanders is that there is still time to be immunized against this year's strain of illness."
Rhode Island is currently seeing an average of six flu-related hospitalizations per day, Dr. Fine said, adding that approximately 9% of emergency room visits during the past week have been for influenza-like illness.
Flu vaccine is generally recommended for people ages six months and older. It is especially important for healthcare workers, pregnant women, people over the age of 50, nursing or group home residents, and people with chronic conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, anemia, blood disorders, or weakened immune systems to be immunized against flu. In particular, those who live with or care for those who are at high risk of flu-related complications should also be immunized.
Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, head and body aches, fatigue and runny nose. Some people also have vomiting and diarrhea.
Immunizations are available throughout Rhode Island, including through your primary care provider, at flu vaccination clinics, and at local pharmacies.
For more information about influenza or to find a vaccination clinic near you, visit www.health.ri.gov/flu
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