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State Health Officials Confirm First Seasonal Flu Cases

Four children from the Baltimore metropolitan area are the first recorded flu cases for 2012.

Four Baltimore-area children are the first confirmed cases of seasonal influenza, according to state health officials.

The four children, who are not being identified, are said to be doing well though one was hospitalized, according to a statement released Friday by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The first confirmed case in 2011 was reported on December 30, health officials said.

"Flu is here earlier this year than last year, and we are seeing two different flu strains,” Frances Phillips, deputy secretary of Public Health Services, said in the statement. “This really stresses the importance of getting the flu vaccine, and getting it as soon as possible. Fortunately, there is plenty of vaccine to go around.”

Influenza spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing and direct contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces or objects. Symptoms usually begin one to four days after being exposed to the virus, and include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing, and sore throat, according to state health officials, according to the release.

Yearly vaccinations are important because the strains of influenza that circulate change over time.

State health officials recommend the following people be vaccinated: 

  • Children 6 months to 18 years of age.
  • Persons 50 years of age and older.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Persons of any age with chronic medical conditions.
  • Persons undergoing therapy, or with a condition that may weaken their immune systems.
  • Persons caring for someone in these groups should also be vaccinated to avoid spreading the disease to them including healthcare workers, household contacts of individuals at risk for complications from the flu, and daycare or school workers. 

The heatlh department release offered the following tips to people who believe they have the flu.

  • Contact your healthcare provider for management of flu symptoms or treatment of any complications.
  • Get rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowded places like shopping malls or public transportation.

State health officials also urge people to "avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals or other settings where people with other conditions may get your flu and be affected severely. Stay home from work or school whenever possible to avoid spreading the flu to your friends and coworkers."

Weekly updates on influenza activity in the state can be found on the state health department website.

The state has also set-up an internet-based influenza tracking survey to monitor influenza-like illnesses in people "who may not seek medical care," according to the release.

Residents can participate in the influenza survey by signing up on the department website.

number9dream October 19, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Oh brother. Here we go. Run for your lives!!!
Tim October 19, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Whats really scary is how many people have such poor hygiene.
number9dream October 19, 2012 at 05:24 PM
True, and yet there are still, what, 10 bazillion of us on the planet??? Health care/pharmaceutical industry hype.
Laura Jackson October 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Ever notice that people do NOT get the flu during the Spring and Summer months? Why is the "flu" season Fall and Winter? I believe it's because that is WHEN they start giving these flu vaccines. Just to put it to the test, I had a flu vaccine about 10 years ago. Within a day or 2, I got a horrible case of the flu. So, the next several years, I skipped getting the vaccine. Then, I went again to "test" my theory and got vaccinated again for the flu. Same thing happened. I came down with the flu the next day! Again, I waited a couple more years NOT having the flu vaccine. Did I get the flu during those years of NOT being vaccinated? NO! Anyhow, I put my theory to the test for the THIRD and LAST time about 3 years ago. I felt great when going to get my vaccine (about 3:00 p.m.). I went home, still feeling okay (except for a sore arm). Then, about 11:00 p.m. that SAME evening, I started with a scratchy sore throat and a fever. The next day, I had a case of the flu--so badly that I ended up in the hospital. And, THAT particular year, I was sick for an entire month! My point is: I believe the FLU VACCINE CAUSES THE FLU! I even mentioned this to the CDC. However, they disagreed with me. They said it was impossible. But, the last few years, I have escaped the flu again--all because I opted AGAINST the vaccine. And, actually, 2 years ago, a family member had a heart attack three days after having the flu vaccine!
Laura Jackson October 19, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Personally, I think the FLU VACCINE is a money-making scheme. Think about it. The CDC makes money from the vaccine. The DRUG companies make money dispensing the vaccine. And, when you get sick (which, I believe, is their goal), the DOCTORS make money from the vaccine. And, if your family doctor cannot help you and you go to the hospital, then the HOSPITAL makes money because you had the flu vaccine. And, God forbid, if you die, the FUNERAL HOMES and Cemeteries make money, too. Why? All because of the flu vaccine. Besides that--who does it really help? There are literally hundreds of different strains of the "flu virus." Just because they put out a flu vaccine that protects you from one or two different strains doesn't mean you won't get one the vaccine doesn't protect you from. Long story short--I DID put my theory to the test on THREE separate occasions (spreading out the vaccinations by years). And, every time I got the flu vaccine, I came down with a case of the flu. And, every time I did NOT get a flu vaccine, I remained healthy and stayed well. BTW--I agree that most people do not care about their hygiene. That's true. People who go to work when they're sick (coughing and gagging all over the place) disgust me. They are either workaholics and trying to kiss butt by "being a trooper" for coming into work; or they hate being "alone" when they're sick; or, better yet, like that old saying goes: "Misery loves company." STAY HOME WHEN YOU'RE SICK!
jag October 19, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Hooray, I love Laura Jackson posts! Dumbest thing you'll read all day! "I believe the FLU VACCINE CAUSES THE FLU! I even mentioned this to the CDC. However, they disagreed with me." LOL. Good lord.
John Citzen October 19, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Any one remember where people got the flu and so what?? This over hyped goverment funded panic train to sell vaccaine to the sheep or allow employers to FORCE these chemicals into its workers (all healthcare workers in MD are forced by their employer to get these vaccine against their will or they will be fired on the spot). Why then can't the conset say this violation of my body is only taken d/t under concearsion and threats. Big Goverment exerts it power once again (not just the current admin this has been going on awhile). These are not cirtical illness like Mumps, Whooping Cough, Polio etc... This is the "flu" your sick you stay home (which most employer frown on and once again threating your employment status). So lets just all drink the kool aid. Hopefully the class action lawsuit that will hopefully come will show these companies and big goverment that America stands for FREEDOM.
John Citzen October 19, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Contact your healthcare provider for management of flu symptoms or treatment of any complications. (Good Luck getting an appt. they will get the co-pay ahead of time as you wait for over 1hr+ for them to say "gee it looks like you have the flu") •Get rest and drink plenty of fluids. (oh and the self employed can just go to the money jar and pick some ripe 20's and the toddlers and children can drive themselves home from school and pick up the house's food for the week) •Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. (Really Never heard of this one) •Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wash your hands often. (Whatever happen to nice cheap SOAP and water oh no you need to buy hand sanitizers causes it is better cause it more expensive pick me a few more 10's from the money tree) •Avoid crowded places like shopping malls or public transportation. (Here is where you got them don't buy anything stay out of the malls at holiday times (economy is heading downhill lets kick this pig faster) your kids won't miss a little christmas or you don't mind sitting in your house till the flu demon plauge goes away)
jag October 19, 2012 at 06:22 PM
"Any one remember where people got the flu and so what??" ?????? What? Like 1918 when 20+ million people died of the flu in a couple of months??? It's not as big a deal these days (knock on wood) BECAUSE we have these vaccines in our arsenal. How uneducated can you be???
jag October 19, 2012 at 06:24 PM
STOP TYPING YOU UNEDUCATED FOOL. Oh, except "STAY HOME WHEN YOU'RE SICK!" makes sense. Kudos.
John Citzen October 19, 2012 at 06:39 PM
1918 was not because of lack of vaccine and if you read and understand you history there were multiple issues at stake. WWI was coming to a close there was an influx of veterans from the Europe with mustard gas burns, trauma, communcible disease, trench related disease. Medical personnel were over taxed. There were fewer antibiotics, military bases were loaded with personnel. People were rationing food and diets were poor because of the war, Antisepitc surgery and the Germ Theory were still in their early stages. People lived a very isolated lifestyle as well some of the troops have never left their hometowns to go off to the war people were exposed to germs they have never been around. Just because there was no vaccine did not cause the pandemic of 1918. The lack of Antibiotics which just started out, the end of WWI, lifestyle in America, the overcrowding, etc...
Laura Jackson October 19, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Gee jag--you are apparently the "expert" on diseases, aren't you? I never said you should not get the flu vaccine. That's totally up to you. I am entitled to MY opinion. Of course, on other boards, you've told me I AM NOT ENTITLED TO MY OPINION--that goes along with others who are O-lovers and want the Government telling them what they HAVE TO DO. Be my guest, jag--please--GET THE VACCINE. Perhaps you'll die (like my family member did) AFTER getting the vaccine. Go ahead, jag. Get the vaccine! Get the flu. After all, it IS recommended that those with low immune systems get the vaccine. And, since you boasted on another thread about the whole "gay" issue, can I assume you are gay? Perhaps this is why you have a low immune system and NEED the flu vaccine EVERY YEAR. So, get one! And, please don't forget to wear protection. Geez. I can tell you're one of those people that doesn't care who gets sick from YOU. Spread illness and diseases everywhere. Right? Of course I am.
ZIG October 19, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Are you for real? Many, many people have lived because of the Vaccine.
jag October 19, 2012 at 07:11 PM
There is no opinion involved. You're claiming that the flu occurs in fall/winter because of the flu vaccine. You relate the flu vaccine to someone having a heart attack. Now your relating the flu to being gay. You're flat out stupid, Laura. Hundreds of people have told you that, but you just can't seem to wrap your mind around it. Please stop pretending that making up your own set of facts and ignoring reality is the same thing as having an opinion. It isn't.
Ashley October 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Every time I read something from Laura I lose a little more faith in humanity.
Lois Bowers October 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
The reason you get more colds and flu in the fall and winter is because people move indoors, kids go back to school and college and sickness spreads easier than it does in the summer, when people are less apt to be in large crowds.
PerryHallParent October 19, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Thanks for the common sense answer. People who "get the flu" shortly after getting the vaccine are exposed to the virus prior to being able to develop enough antibodies. Anyone with the slightest amount of common sense can figure that out/learn about it. It's like the same logic of the anti-vaccination crowd. Since someone on the news or the internet says something doesn't make it so. Thousands of lives have been saved by vaccinations of all kind, including the flu vaccine. If you don't want to get the shot fine, but stay away from my family when you get it.
Ann October 19, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Thanks, Laura, for my laugh of the day!
Patrick B. October 20, 2012 at 06:09 AM
The flu virus survives best outside the body in low humidity along with cool temperatures, that is why there is a flu season.Nothing to do with crowds, people are in crowds all the time!
Joe October 20, 2012 at 02:35 PM
"Nothing to do with crowds, people are in crowds all the time!" Sure it does. The transmission of the virus is greatly increased in crowds like when Christmas shopping and that is when the numbers seem to peak. If ANY virus is transmittable it must be by definition more likely to transmit when in large crowds.
Joe October 20, 2012 at 02:44 PM
There was a time in our history when vaccines did indeed cause the disease. When the vaccines were being made form the live virus. "It was not until the end of the 18th century that an effective method of vaccination was developed. It was an English scientist named Edward Jenner who discovered it. Jenner observed that milkmaids often got a mild disease called cowpox and that this seemed to make them immune to smallpox. His vaccination strategy involved transferring the blister fluid from a person with cowpox to a person who had not yet had smallpox. This gave the susceptible person a cowpox infection (which was usually mild) and conveyed protection from smallpox. After a time, a virus similar to cowpox, called vaccinia, was substituted in the vaccine. "' Smallpox was one of the first biological weapons. In the 50's the polio vaccine was causing some cases of polio. It is thought to be bad vaccine but that is where this entire vaccine fear started. Old wives tales are hard to stop. Today some live culture vaccines ate still used and people still have fear of being injected with the same thing they are trying to avoid. Your children are injected with live substances in their early childhood. Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR combined vaccine) Varicella (chickenpox) Influenza (nasal spray) Rotavirus Zoster (shingles) Yellow fever
Mike Fisher October 20, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Indeed, vaccines did cause polio in many people and slowed the eradication of the disease which was already happening naturally. The disease went away in Europe w/o vaccines. There are millions of cases of people who get the flu shot, then get a terrible case of the flu. I know several this happened to last year even, but many throughout my life. That's not even including the MERCURY that you are injecting directly into your bloodstream along with other chemicals like formaldehyde. Vaccines are unnecessary and dangerous. People line up like sheep for their vaccines and all these people are shedding the flu virus for the next three days for anyone to catch. I haven't had a vaccine since I was a teenager and I never get sick even when I've been around people who have the flu. It's called an immune system, that's why we have one. Mine is rock solid, how's yours? The same dogma that exists with fluoridation advocates exist with vaccine advocates. Vaccination is supposed to be a one time thing, but flu vaccines don't work because the virus changes so much, even over the course of a season. Why do you need "booster" shots? Vaccines are for life, but they are nothing but a money making machine for the naive. Go line up for your vaccines and get all that mercury too. Just know you're getting other people sick because you are shedding the virus days after you get it for other people to catch and that mercury is going to kill you sooner. Vaccines are a joke, most things are.

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