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Flu Incidence In RI 'Sporadic' But Increasing

The state Department of Health is urging all Rhode Islanders to get a flu shot to keep the disease at its current low levels.
The state Department of Health is urging all Rhode Islanders to get a flu shot to keep the disease at its current low levels.
Public health officials are warning that while cases of the flu have been "sporadic" in Rhode Island this season, the past two weeks have seen an uptick in illnesses, indicating the disease may be spreading.

The Rhode Island Department of Health announced that visits to doctors around the state for flu treatments have increased recently, and it expects that upward trend to continue. So far, 16 people have been hospitalized this flu season, but fortunately, no one has yet died from the flu.

So far, less than 1 percent of the state population has been diagnosed with influenza this year, a sharp decrease from this time last year, when more than 4 percent had the flu, according to health department figures. The state is also well below average infection rates in New England and the United States. 

But that's no reason to be complacent, the department warns.

Health officials are urging anyone over 6 months of age to get a flu shot to prevent the disease, especially pregnant women, healthcare workers, seniors, and people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or obesity. But healthy young adults are also being urged to get the shot. This year's vaccine protects against H1N1, the dominant strain this season, which affects young adults more than other strains.

You don't even have to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get vaccinated. Most pharmacies, including CVS, Rite Aide and Walgreens, are offering the shot, often without an appointment.




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