Note: A previous version of this story said a child also had the flu, but the Division of Public Health announced Wednesday afternoon that was a mistake.
A Kent County woman diagnosed with flu has launched Delaware into the 2022-23 flu season, setting off the annual call for people to be vaccinated.
The 32-year-old Kent County woman diagnosed with influenza strain A had been vaccinated.
Because few flu cases are confirmed by laboratories, much more flu is likely to be in circulation.
“The flu is a threat to our health,” said Dr. Rick Hong, interim director of the Division of Public Health, in a press release, “and getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from either getting it, or at the very least reducing the severity of symptoms and illness if you do get it.”
Previous flu season
During the 2021-2022 season, Delaware recorded more than 2,700 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. More than 150 Delawareans were hospitalized and three people died from flu complications.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic lowered the number of infections in a mask-wearing, social-distancing public, the state saw its third-worse season of flu and flu deaths.
The flu vaccine is recommended for Delawareans 6 months of age and older. It can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine. Both take about two weeks to become fully effective.
A schedule for flu vaccines at Public Health clinics for uninsured and underinsured individuals can be found at: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/fight-the-flu/flu-vaccine-finder.
DPH no longer holds mass community flu clinics, but will offer flu vaccines at community-based locations where its mobile units can help. Flu vaccines also are offered through physician offices, many pharmacies (including those within grocery stores) and federally qualified health centers.
The flu is easy to transmit. Children, older adults, and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now.
In addition to getting an annual flu shot, Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu the same way they can prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Maintain six feet of space between others, especially those who reside outside of your own home.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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