BOSTON (CBS) – This year’s flu season in Massachusetts is shaping up to be worse than last.
So far, health officials have confirmed about 1,300 cases. At this point last year, that number was about 850.
The latest weekly flu report says that influenza severity has increased from low to moderate. So far, influenza B has proved to be the most common form of the flu.
“This past week’s activity was higher than it was during any week last season,” said Dr. Larry Madoff at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He said flu season doesn’t peak until late January or early February, and with the numbers Massachusetts is seeing already, he expects things will get worse. “I won’t be surprised to see hospitalizations rise in the coming weeks.”
People with the flu often experience fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, runny nose, headaches and fatigue, but most don’t see a doctor.
“We know that most people that have the flu don’t see a provider, don’t have a laboratory test, so we know that there are many more cases than we can count,” Madoff said. The health department urges people across the state to get vaccinated
It can be difficult to get the right flu strains into the flu vaccine, but this year’s vaccines are a match for what’s circulating in the community, Madoff said. “There’s still plenty of time to get vaccinated. We expect the flu season to keep going for many weeks.”
And when it comes to the flu — if you catch it, stay home.
“it’s really important for people who have the flu to stay home and not spread their illness to their coworkers, to their classmates,” Madoff said.