Boston faring well early on in this flu season

flu sneezing sick
Flu season is in full swing.
Credit: Flickr/foshydog

For many, the holidays are the happiest time of year, despite frigid temperatures, slick roads and endless shoveling. However, there is one downside to the season that can put a damper on anyone’s winter wonderland – the dreaded influenza.

But according to the Boston Public Health Commission, the city has fared well since the flu season began on Oct. 1.

“It’s very low. Often we will see an initial uptick in children coming down with the flu, but we haven’t seen that yet,” said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the BPHC’s Infectious Disease Bureau.

There have been about 50 cases so far; all were seen in people between the ages of 18 and 44.

The average flu season in Boston will typically affect 1,400 residents, according to the BPHC.

Those opting to get vaccinated this year – which officials at the BPHC recommend – can expect two new changes to this year’s flu shots.

For the first time ever, health care providers are offering egg-free vaccines, which is good news for those who have egg allergies. Also, vaccines are available that protect against four strains of the flu; previously they had only covered three strains, according to Barry.

“There was some fine tuning on the vaccine itself to try and make it easy on people,” said Barry. “We absolutely recommend that people get vaccinated, and now is a great time. It takes about two weeks to take effect.”

The flu season tends to peak between January and March.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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