Flu Now in All Delaware Counties & 1st Pediatric Case

There is now flu in all three Delaware counties. Public Health announced two new lab-confirmed cases of flu – one in an unvaccinated child under 5 in New Castle and one in an unvaccinated 43 year old Sussex County woman. Both are diagnosed with the influenza strain A. These cases bring the total statewide to seven. A reminder – flu vaccine is recommended for anyone 6 months of age and older.

In a release from DPH:

Since it takes approximately two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. Getting the flu vaccine now will also provide protection during the entire flu season. The vaccine can help prevent the flu and can safeguard against serious effects such as hospitalization or death if a person who does receive the vaccine catches the flu. It can also be administered during the same visit as the COVID-19 vaccine, at least one inch apart in the same arm or in a different arm.

Flu vaccines are offered through physician’s offices, many pharmacies (including those within grocery stores) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Flu vaccines are also offered at Public Health clinics for uninsured and under-insured individuals. While DPH no longer holds mass community flu clinics, flu vaccines will be offered at community-based locations where the DPH mobile units also provide additional health services. For locations, visit the flu finder at flu.delaware.gov. The flu is easy to transmit, and you can get it even from seemingly healthy, but unvaccinated, children and adults. Children, older adults and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now.

In addition to getting an annual flu shot, Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu the same way they can prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • Maintain 6 feet of space between others, especially those who reside outside of your own home
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

The flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms, including fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue (tiredness), sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches and headaches. Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 that are different from flu include a change in or loss of taste or smell. If you are sick, the best thing to do is call your health care provider to see if you should get tested for COVID-19 or come in for a visit.

Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours. People with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household; you can give someone the flu 24 hours before you show symptoms and five to seven days after you get sick. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.