Delaware today announced the season’s first confirmed cases of influenza: a Kent County child under age 5, infected with influenza strain B, who was hospitalized, and a 26-year-old Sussex County woman, with influenza strain A, who was not hospitalized. Neither individual had received the flu vaccine, Delaware Division of Public Health pointed out.
The division used the announcement to encourage flu vaccines, with details available at flu.delaware.gov. The vaccine is recommended for Delawareans 6 months of age and older and can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine, the state said. Flu vaccines take two weeks to become effective.
The division is offering flu and COVID-19 vaccines at community-based events, and it runs clinics for uninsured and underinsured individuals.
The flu virtually disappeared in Delaware last season, with so many people sheltering in place and large gatherings limited by pandemic guidelines. The 2020-2021 flu season had 26 confirmed cases of the flu, one hospitalization and one death from flu complications.
Compare that to the 2019-2020 flu season: Delaware recorded more than 7,000 confirmed cases, nearly 400 hospitalizations and 11 deaths.
“We must not get lulled into a false sense of security with last year’s unusually low case numbers,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, the division’s director. With Delawareans resuming pre-pandemic activities, the flu is a definite threat to our health.”
The flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms. They include fever or feeling feverish, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain, body aches and headaches. COVID-19 differs from flu in causing a change in or loss of taste or smell.
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