By Robbie McKay Lincoln News • February 5, 2019
MILLINOCKET – The Maine Center for Disease Control has notified Millinocket Regional Hospital that the flu has reached all 16 of Maine’s counties.
Officials at MRH received communication from MSDC on January 30 of the widespread influenza outbreak. Ryan Hafford, Laboratory manager for MRH released the figures on the outbreak locally.
“We have had 12 positive influenza results through our lab,” Hafford said. “The first case was reported on 1/23/2019, and it has been going strong since,” he said.
The CDC informs people that there is still time to get vaccinated. In a missive to the hospital, the organization encourages everyone to protect themselves against this year’s outbreak. “With all this increased influenza activity, it is not too late to get vaccinated. Vaccination can reduce illness and prevent hospitalization and death. Influenza vaccination is strongly encouraged throughout the season and is still widely available,” the information said.
Katie Mackin, marketing director for MRH agrees.
“In terms of vaccinations, they are still available here at MRH for current patients (current defined as seen by their provider within the last 3 years). These current patients should contact their provider’s office to set up a time to come in and get their inoculation,” Mackin said. This includes MRH Primary Care at 723-3329 and MRH Family Medicine at 723-3321.
Those at greatest risk from the flu are those over 65 years of age, young children, people with chronic disease, and pregnant women. Vaccination is recommended for anyone older than 6 months, and it takes two weeks for the vaccination to take effect, so the CDC is urging people to get their shots now if they haven’t already.
Mackin says one of the easiest things you can do to prevent getting the flu or spreading it is to wash your hands frequently.
“It’s an easy thing to do, and really helps stop the spread of the disease,” she said.
Other recommendations include staying at home for 24 hours after your fever goes away, not touching your face, using hand sanitizer, and getting exercise to boost the immune system. Along with these, old time remedies include getting plenty of rest and plenty of fluids..
Current estimates are that 20 percent of the population of the United States will get the flu. In 2018, there were 85 flu-related deaths in Maine.
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