By Robbie McKay Lincoln News • September 20, 2018
MILLINOCKET – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has notified Millinocket Regional Hospital that there is an early start to the flu season here in Maine.
MRH received information from the CDC that positive laboratory testings from around the state have shown that the virus has started spreading a little earlier than usual this year. The official start to the flu season traditionally begins on September 30, 2018. Ryan Hafford, Infection Control RN, urges people to use caution.
“Because someone can be infected with and be shedding the influenza virus for a few days before they even know they are sick, masks are a good way to prevent the spread to patients and other workers,” he said.
Medical professionals and the Maine CDC alike are encouraging people to have their flu shots, and it is now recommended that anyone over the age of 6 months be vaccinated. It is also important for people to wash their hands frequently, cover their mouths when they cough (or wear a mask), and stay home if they are sick.
“Many people still die from Influenza every year,” Hafford said. “Getting vaccinated and using good cough etiquette and good hand hygiene are the best ways to help protect yourself and everyone around you,” he said.
Ed Dunstan, D.O., agreed wholeheartedly that people should be getting their flu shots immediately. “Vaccines save lives,” he said.
MRH will be holding a flu shot clinic on Friday, September 21 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the office of Millinocket Surgical and Northern Penobscot Orthopedics located at 165 Poplar Street in Millinocket. It is for adult patients who have been seen by their primary care provider sometime in the last three years. The vaccine is covered by most insurances, but if it is not the cost is $25 and can be paid with cash, check or credit card.
The hospital will be holding a separate clinic for employees at a later date and are encouraging everyone to take part.
About Millinocket Regional Hospital
Millinocket Regional Hospital (MRH) is a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital nestled at the base of Baxter State Park that provides vital healthcare services to those who live, work and play in the Katahdin Region. Beyond the friendly staff and award-winning patient care, MRH provides an impressive range of specialty and general services; with a recent expansion resulting in the addition of eight new specialties and a Walk-In Care facility. In 2016, MRH was recognized as the Cleanest Hospital in New England by Becker’s Hospital Review and received a five star rating on the Medicare Quality Scale. Providing jobs to approximately 250 people, MRH is the largest employer in the Katahdin Region and a crucial economic force within its community. For more information, please visit www.mrhme.org or www.facebook.com/MillinocketRegionalHospital