Four-year-old Gabriella Diaz sits as registered nurse Charlene Luxcin, right, administers a flu shot at the Whittier Street Health Center in Boston, Mass., Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Boston declared a public health emergency Wednesday as the city tried to deal with a harsh flu season and the state reported 18 flu-related deaths so far. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
The flu continues to pack a powerful punch this season. Connecticut is among the dozens of states reporting a sharp increase in flu cases.
“People everywhere are getting sick,” said Natalie Vaz.
Health officials said children are especially vulnerable.
“They can get sicker. They can develop pneumonia as a complication. They require hospitalization more frequently,” said Theresa Hendricksen, a nurse and COO at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, which has been extra busy this winter.
“[We have had] little to no beds available for the past two weeks. Non-stop straight,” said Hendricksen.
Hendricksen said vaccinating your kids is a good idea, as is making sure they keep their hands clean.
“Make sure they cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze…tell them to keep their hands under water while they sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song.”
That’s advice Aiden Loeser, 8, takes to heart.
“Sometimes I bring a packet of Purel.”
Despite the outbreak, Hendricksen said the worst may be over.
“The number [of flu cases] this week are stable compared to last week. The numbers are still higher than they were two years ago, but we’re not seeing an increase.”
About 1,600 confirmed cases of influenza have been reported in Connecticut this winter. Health officials said even if you or your child haven’t been vaccinated yet, it’s not too late.