Achoo, This Year and The Flu

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NVRH logoST. JOHNSBURY - Contrary to the popular belief for this year, the Flu has made a decline in the amount of cases present here in the New England area. Right in St. Johnsbury at the Northern Vermont Regional Hospital, the number of flu cases has declined from the high numbers that the hospital saw last year. This is not to say, however, that the number of cases for the flu are not still much higher than years past excluding last year. 

Doctors and health care professionals at NVRH have discussed why the flu has been more prevalent in the past two years, and many of the reasons have very little to do with the weather. "It may be hard to believe, but it's more about how the weather makes people act rather than the weather itself," expalined Patty Launer, Infection Preventionist at NVRH, "The flu is more commonly passed when people are held up inside their houses for long periods of time. It gives the disease a chance to germinate and release itself into the body and infect the host. It's honestly funny that we have to tell people the best way to avoid the Flu is to be outside more often... you'd expect the opposite."

Of course with that being said, it is also very important for people to understand how easily the Flu can transfer from person to person. When one person is sick, and let's say they go into work, or go on a flight, or they are in a compact area, they can and most likely are spreading the Flu to everyone around them. "The Flu is commonly passed from one person or family member to another, simply from being within the immediate vicinity of the infected," said Michael Rousse, Chief Hospitalist and VP of Medical Affairs, "The disease only needs about six feet to the nearest possible host... then it can spead and infect whoever falls within that vicinity."

Health Care professionals have always stressed the need for everyone to get the Flu shot, however this year they are stressing it even more, primarily due to the fact that the vaccine is the best it has ever been. "We have just recieved word this week that the strain used in the Flu vaccinations have been an almost identicle match to the strain of the disease itself," Rousse said in his interview on February 12th, "This means that this year's Flu vaccine is the best that it has ever been in comparison to years past. When the vaccine is created every year, it is in the attempt to build a strain that matches the strain of the disease; and this year the vaccine did just that, making it incredibly effective in warding off the disease.

NVRH has been giving residents Flu vaccinations since the beginning of the year, and will continue to do so going into April... If you have not received your Flu vaccine, this is the best year to give it try, because it is the most effective it has ever been.