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Red Cross: Flu Cases 'Widespread'

Outbreaks are earlier than normal in the area, including Melrose.

The Red Cross said there's still time for folks to get flu shots and be covered from what is considered to be a more active flu season. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said flu outbreaks are high for this time of the season, with "widespread activity" in Massachusetts.

How do you prevent the flu?

According to the CDC, in addition to getting the vaccine, you can:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Flu Cases Up in Melrose

    "We are hearing of more flu cases this year than last," said Karen Cronin, public health nurse for Melrose and Wakefield Health Departments in an email to Melrose Patch Wednesday. "Last year Melrose had reported (four) confirmed flu cases. Last month and this month alone, Melrose has 32 confirmed cases."

    Should you be experiencing flu-like symptoms, which include "fever/chills, muscle/body aches, headache, cough, sore throat, extreme fatigue and maybe a runny/stuffy nose," try to recooperate by resting, according to Cronin.

    "If you have the flu or suspect flu, first and foremost, stay home and rest. Avoid close contact with family members (quarantine yourself, if possible), drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration, over the counter medicines may help with fever (and) cough congestion," Cronin said. "If you are at high risk for complications related to the flu, please call your doctor, (as) there are antiviral medications that may help treat the flu."

    The Melrose Health Department still has flu shots available, according to Cronin. To arrange an appointment, Cronin can be reached Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 781-979-4129.

    Here are some places to get the flu shot in Melrose.

    When should you call the doctor?

    According to the Red Cross, if you think you have the flu, your doctor should be consulted immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
  • Confusion or sudden dizziness.
  • Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
  • Not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting (children).
  • Fever with a rash (children).
  • No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal (children).
  • Did you get the flu or the flu shot? Tell us in the comments.

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