Monday, 11 December 2017 12:56

Maine flu cases are on the rise Featured

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HAMPDEN - Flu season is starting to pick up across the Pine Tree State.

Now, local primary care providers are reminding you it is not too late to get that flu shot.

"A lot of people think the flu vaccine will give them the flu and that's just not true," says Katie Saunders, a family nurse practitioner at Hampden Family Medicine. 

Saunders says it is that time of the year.

Flu visits have picked up as we move through the winter months, including at Hampden Family Medicine. 

"Absolutely, it's already started," she says.

According to the Maine Center for Disease Control, outpatient medical visits and hospitalizations have increased in the recent weeks as a result of influenza, a type of respiratory infection.

Many people confuse it with the stomach bug.

"You can have a cough, trouble breathing, shortness of breath, chills, fever, headaches sometimes, body aches," says Saunders. 

Penobscot County has already seen 60 confirmed cases, the highest of all counties in the state.

Saunders says it isn't too late to get the vaccine and reminds you it comes at no risk to your health.

"I do hear patients that say, 'oh it makes me sick,'" she says. "We don't have clinical data to back that up."

People more at risk include young patients, the elderly and those with chronic illness.

The flu spreads through contact with others who are infected.

It is important to always cover your mouth and wash your hands.

You can get your flu vaccine at any family care provider or pharmacy. 

Nurse practitioners also say if you have the flu to stay at home to avoid spreading the illness.

Blake Lipton

Morning Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Blake Lipton joined the ABC 7 and Fox 22 news team in January of 2016 and is excited to start his career in television as a morning anchor at our station!

He is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina and has previously interned with the ESPNU/SEC Network, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and the WOLO sports department in Columbia, South Carolina during his time in school.

Blake also worked with the Weather Channel to help cover the historic South Carolina floods in the fall of 2015.

While most of his experience is in sports, Blake is thrilled for the opportunity to host the morning show at Fox ABC Maine and become a more well-rounded journalist and storyteller.

When he is not anchoring or reporting, Blake enjoys hiking, reading and talking anything football. He is also a fan of coffee and hip-hop music.

Feel free to reach out to him with story ideas at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @Blake_Lipton for the latest updates on everything Maine!