HARTFORD – The number of flu deaths in Connecticut are on the rise. The latest report from the Connecticut Department of Public Health showed six people have died this season so far.
The bad news is the DPH said over 300 people have been hospitalized with the flu. That is from August 2018 to January 5, 2019.
However one doctor at St. Francis Hospital said there are actually fewer cases than last year.
The Chief of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Wu with St. Francis Hospital said this year has been mild compared to last year, but believed more cases will happen.
“Unfortunately, that number will rise. We tend to see a peak probably in February, so in a couple weeks, we’re going to start seeing more hospitalizations, more influenza-like illnesses, and unfortunately more deaths,” said Chief of Infectious Diseases Dr. Ulysses Wu.
The DPH report stated the five deaths were associated with Influenza-A and only one with Influenza-B. Of the six reported, most cases were found within people who were 65 and older.
“The people that are most susceptible are at the extremes of age – the very young or the older or those with what we say chronic co-morbid conditions,” added Dr. Wu.
The report went on to say Hartford County had the most cases with New Haven coming in second. Dr. Wu said it is almost important to identify the differences between a cold and a flu.
When you have a cold, you have your usual runny nose, congestion and sneezing, but you typically do not feel ill until a few days later. A flu, on the other hand, has similar symptoms but hits you fast and leaves in bed for almost one week.
Dr. Wu recommended people to get their flu shot as the first preventative measure.
“For those who get influenza and you’ve gotten the flu shot, it may also temper the course and moderate the course of the disease even if you get influenza,” added Dr. Wu.
Washing your hands thoroughly is almost important before touching your own face or shaking anyone’s hands. Doctors said there is almost something called “herd immunity” where you try and surround yourself around people who also got the shot.
Whether you got the flu shot or not, it is encouraged you go see a doctor if it lasts for more than a few days so others do not become sick.
For more information from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, click here.