By CDC definitions, influenza is now widespread in Connecticut, accounting for 6% of all emergency room visits and 5% of hospitalizations in the state. We have had 6 influenza related fatalities, all in patients over 50 years old. Only 16% of cases appear to be related to last year’s novel H1N1 (swine) flu strain.

Take time to review good hand hygiene with your children. Frequent hand washing, with either soap and water or a hand cleanser like Purell, is a good idea when in public spaces like schools, libraries, or stores. Teach them to cover their mouths with tissues or their arm when they cough and sneeze, and then to dispose of their tissues properly. Do not share water bottles, utensils, or toothbrushes.

And, of course, give us a call if you have concerns about significant flu symptoms like prolonged fever, severe cough, difficulty breathing, or weakness and lethargy.