DPH Announces First Flu-Related Death of 2020-2021 Season

DOVER (Dec. 30, 2020) – The Division of Public Health (DPH) is reminding Delawareans that as we continue to deal with COVID-19 infections, influenza is still with us as well. Sadly, DPH announces the first flu-related death of the 2020-2021 season. A 56-year-old Kent county male infected with influenza B, who also had underlying health conditions, passed away last week.

As of Dec. 19, 2020, the most recent date for which flu statistics are available, there have been five laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu in Delaware for the current season. Two cases each are to residents of Kent and New Castle counties, and one resident is from Sussex County. This number reflects only the number of lab-confirmed cases; the actual number of cases circulating statewide is likely much higher as not all people with the flu seek treatment, and many cases are diagnosed through rapid test kits in a provider’s office versus a lab.

“This tragedy reminds us that while we are diligently fighting COVID-19, we cannot forget about influenza as it also can be extremely dangerous and deadly, particularly to individuals who already have weakened immune systems,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We are keeping this person’s family in our thoughts as well as everyone battling illness in this difficult time. We encourage Delawareans to get their flu vaccines if they have not done so already and to make sure everyone in their family gets theirs, too. The vaccine will lessen your likelihood of getting the flu and can lower the severity of your symptoms if you catch it. You should also take antiviral medicines if your primary care provider prescribes them.”

In addition to getting a flu vaccine and taking antiviral medication as directed, DPH recommends that you:

  • Stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Practice social distancing to reduce your chance of catching the flu from someone else.
  • Wear a face covering if you have to go out in public to a doctor’s appointment or pharmacy.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately; if no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow.

Additionally, those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school, and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours. They should avoid close contact with well people in the household and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your primary care provider as he or she may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. People with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are more susceptible to catching the flu.

Flu vaccines are still available at many pharmacies and grocery stores, and through primary care physicians and some specialists. To find participating stores, enter your ZIP code in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s flu vaccine finder at www.cdc.gov/flu/. Flu shots continue to be available at DPH clinics located within the Department of Health and Social Services’ State Service Centers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all State Service Centers are requiring appointments for flu vaccines:

  • Porter State Service Center, 509 W. Eighth St., Wilmington. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 302-515-3174 to schedule an appointment.
  • Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 302-283-7570 to schedule an appointment.
  • Williams State Service Center, 805 River Road, Dover. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 302-857-5140 to schedule an appointment.
  • Milford State Service Center – Riverwalk, 253 N.E. Front St., Milford. For ages 9 years and older. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 302-424-7130 to schedule an appointment.
  • Anna C. Shipley State Service Center, 350 Virginia Ave., Seaford. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 302-628-6772 to schedule an appointment.
  • Adams State Service Center, 544 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 302-515-3174 to schedule an appointment.For more information about the flu, visit flu.delaware.gov or call DPH at 1-800-282-8672.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com. 

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Delaware Public Health Officials Confirm First Flu Case of the 2020-2021 Season

DOVER (Nov. 12, 2020) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the state’s first laboratory-confirmed case of influenza for the 2020-2021 flu season. The case, which also marks Delaware’s first pediatric case of the season, involves a child under the age of 5 from Kent County.

“With the increase in COVID-19 cases we’ve seen over the past few weeks, it is more important than ever to get the flu vaccine if you haven’t already,” said Dr. DPH Director Karyl Rattay. “The flu vaccine won’t prevent COVID-19, but it is effective at preventing the flu. The flu vaccine decreases the number of people who need to be treated for the flu. This means more health care supplies, resources, and professionals will be available on the front lines to fight the pandemic. By eliminating the need to visit your provider’s office or be hospitalized for the flu, you help lower the risk of workers on the front lines getting sick.”

The flu vaccine is recommended for Delawareans 6 months of age and older. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. Getting the flu vaccine now will also provide protection during the entire flu season. During the 2019-2020 flu season, Delaware recorded more than 7,000 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. Nearly 400 Delawareans were hospitalized due to the flu and 11 people died from flu complications.

A flu clinic schedule can be found at: https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html. Flu vaccines also are offered through physician offices, many pharmacies and some grocery stores. To locate where flu vaccines near you are being offered, Google “CDC flu finder” and enter a ZIP code.

The flu is easy to transmit and you can get it even from seemingly healthy, but unvaccinated, children and adults. Children, older adults, and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now.

In addition to getting an annual flu shot, Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu the same way they can prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses: Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, wear a face covering when in public when in public, maintain 6 feet of space between others, especially those who reside outside of your own home, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

The flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms. They include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue (tiredness), sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches, and headaches. Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 that are different from flu

include a change in or loss of taste or smell. If you are sick, the best thing to do is call your health care provider to see if you should get tested for COVID-19 or come in for a visit.

Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours. People with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household – you can give someone the flu 24 hours before you show symptoms and five to seven days after you get sick. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.


DPH Partners With Health Care and Community Partners to Launch Fight Flu DE — Enhanced Flu Vaccination Campaign

DOVER (Sept. 29, 2020) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is partnering with health care, faith-based and community partners to launch an aggressive communications campaign to mobilize all Delawareans to get their flu vaccinations called ‘Fight Flu DE.’ Working to reach diverse audiences through influencers and with messaging that will motivate them to get the flu vaccine, the campaign integrates grassroots outreach with mass-media marketing strategies to make sure people know where they can get a flu vaccine regardless of insurance coverage.

While DPH has always been proactive in encouraging flu vaccinations, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a greater urgency for Delawareans to get vaccinated against influenza.

“This year it is more important than ever to get your flu vaccine, as we are dealing with uncertainties around how flu season will look this year with COVID-19 circulating at the same time,” said Governor John Carney. “While the flu vaccine will not prevent you from getting COVID, it has many important benefits. It will reduce your chance of getting the flu and flu-related complications, while saving critical health care resources to treat COVID patients.”

Delawareans are urged to think about the Big 4 locations where they can get their flu vaccines this year:
• Medical provider offices or community health clinics
• Pharmacies
• Community Flu Clinics
• DPH Clinics for uninsured and underinsured individuals

This week, DPH will hold three community flu clinics, two on Friday, Oct. 2 – one at the Gigante grocery store on Front Street (Route 14) in Milford from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and one at the New Castle Farmer’s Market on Route 13 in New Castle from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. DPH will hold a second clinic at the New Castle Farmer’s Market location on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., while Westside Family Healthcare will hold a free community flu clinic at its Bear facility in the Fox Run Shopping Center from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3. Beebe Healthcare is holding the following community flu clinics:

• September 29, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Milton CHEER Center, 24855 Broadkill Road, Milton
• October 1, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Rehoboth Convention Center, 229 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth (walk-up and bike only)
• October 2, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Crossroads Church, 20684 State Forest Road, Georgetown (drive-through only)
• October 3, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Beebe South Coastal, 32750 Roxana Road, Frankford (drive-through only)

A list of community and DPH flu clinic sites can be found on flu.delaware.gov. In addition, the locations for flu vaccines can be found if you Google “CDC flu finder” and enter a ZIP code.

The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death by about half.

“Getting a flu vaccine is one of the most important things that every Delawarean, 6 months and older, can do to protect themselves from flu illness,” said Molly Magarik, Secretary for the Department of Health and Social Services. “It is critically important that persons over age 65 and those with underlying medical conditions of any kind get the vaccine as soon as possible.” Pregnant women, children under age 2 and African Americans and Hispanics who are more often impacted by chronic diseases such as lung and heart disease, obesity, and asthma are also at greater risk of flu illness.

“It’s important to get a flu vaccine especially in the African American and other minority communities because of our higher risk of illness,” said Henrietta Johnson Medical Center CMO, Dr. Yvette Gbemudu. “The flu virus and other viruses can affect us more strongly without proper protection. Even if you are infected with the flu after getting a flu vaccine, studies show that your response to it will be lessened because you got the flu shot. It reduces your risk of dying from the flu, which is possible because the virus is deadly.”

It takes about two weeks after receiving the flu vaccine for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, so it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. Getting the flu vaccine now will also provide protection during the entire flu season.

“It will also be vitally important that Delawareans step up their efforts around wearing face coverings, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing their hands frequently, not only to protect against COVID-19, but also against flu in the coming months,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “It’s too early to know what impact these preventive measures may already be having in reducing the early spread of flu in our state, but it’s possible they may be the key to a milder flu season this year – but only if we stay vigilant in our efforts.”

In addition to these basic prevention measures, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow. Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to six feet. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Keep your distance from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Some signs and symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar including fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms to severe symptoms. Testing can help you determine which you have.

COVID-19 symptoms that are different from flu may include change in or loss of taste or smell. Also, flu symptoms generally come on more suddenly than COVID symptoms.

The following organizations have proudly partnered with DPH in the effort to significantly increase flu vaccinations this fall and into the winter: The Delaware Healthcare Association and its member hospital systems: Bayhealth, Beebe Healthcare, ChristianaCare, TidalHealth Nanticoke, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, St. Francis Healthcare and the Veterans Administration Medical Center; the Medical Society of Delaware; and the Federally Qualified Health Centers: Westside Family Healthcare, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center, and La Red Health Center.

“The annual influx of flu patients taxes hospital capacity. That’s a big problem during the pandemic,” said Wayne A. Smith, President & CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association. “The best way to preserve hospital space is for everyone to get a flu shot.”

“While scientists are racing to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the flu vaccine is readily available and can make all the difference in the fight against the flu, which kills tens of thousands of people each year. Now is the time to connect with your physician and get vaccinated,” said Joseph J. Straight, MD, President, Medical Society of Delaware.

“La Red Health Center (LRHC) is pleased to partner with the Delaware Division of Public Health in providing the flu vaccine at each of its Family Practice Sites located in Georgetown, Milford and Seaford,” said Marketing and Communications Director Kevin Loftus. “This flu season it is especially important to get the flu shot as soon as possible and LRHC encourages its patients and all residents of Sussex County to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.”

During the 2019-2020 flu season, Delaware recorded 7,075 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. More than 362 Delawareans were hospitalized due to the flu and 11 people died from flu complications.

“Easy access to free or low-cost flu vaccines is critical to keeping our communities healthy, and ultimately, reducing the risk of severe flu symptoms that cause hospitalization,” said Tom Stephens, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Westside Family Healthcare. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get a flu vaccine as severe complications from both illnesses can be life-threatening.”

Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with temperature less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours. People with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications.
For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.

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A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


DPH Concerned About Increasing Number of Flu Cases As It Announces Additional Flu-Related Deaths

DOVER – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is expressing concern about the increasing number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases in the state as the agency announces additional flu-related deaths for the 2019-2020 season. To date, nine Delawareans have passed away due to flu-related complications during the 2019-2020 flu season. All nine individuals had underlying medical conditions.

Most recently, an 83-year-old woman from New Castle County who was diagnosed with influenza A passed away this week due to complications from the flu. Last week, a 59-year-old woman from New Castle County who was also diagnosed with influenza A passed away due to flu complications. Of the nine individuals who have passed away this season, they range in age from 29 to 96. Five persons were from New Castle County, one was from Kent County and three were from Sussex County. Six individuals were diagnosed with Influenza A and three were diagnosed with Influenza B. Only two of the nine individuals who died from flu complications received the flu vaccine this season.

As of February 15, 2020, there have been 5,047 confirmed cases of influenza in Delaware, including 267 hospitalizations. These numbers reflect only the number of lab-confirmed cases; the actual number of cases circulating statewide is likely much higher. By comparison, at the same time in the 2018-2019 season, there were 3,264 flu cases in Delaware, including 537 hospitalizations, and 13 flu-related deaths.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those we have lost due to seasonal influenza,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “It is still not too late to get the flu vaccine. People six months and older should receive the flu vaccine every year. The vaccine’s main purpose is to make you less likely to catch the flu, but if you do still get it, the vaccine will make your symptoms milder. It takes two weeks for the antibodies in the flu vaccine to become fully effective, so if you haven’t gotten the vaccine yet, you should make arrangements to do so as soon as possible. Always remember to take any antiviral medicine that your doctor prescribes as needed, also.”

In addition to getting a flu vaccine and taking antiviral medication, DPH recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as he or she may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

The risk for flu-related deaths is greatly increased in the very young, older individuals, and those of any age who have underlying health conditions. DPH continues to remind the public that there are steps they can take to prevent the spread of the flu. It is important for older individuals with underlying health conditions not only to be vaccinated, but also to limit contact with anyone who may be sick with influenza, and to contact their health care provider as soon as they become ill. Also, family, friends, and caregivers of older individuals with underlying health conditions should be vaccinated and arrange for alternative care, if possible, if they become sick with influenza.

DPH also recommends that individuals with chronic diseases monitor and manage their conditions, as non-compliance with physician’s recommendations can increase the risk for infection and complications. This includes maintaining appointments with their health care provider, taking medications as prescribed, and following diet and exercise recommendations from their doctor. Additionally, individuals who smoke and who are ready to stop using tobacco are encouraged to call the Delaware Quitline at 1-866-409-1858.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. People with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are more susceptible to catching the flu.

Flu vaccines are available at many pharmacies and grocery stores, and through primary care physicians and some specialists. To find participating stores, enter your ZIP code in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s flu vaccine finder at www.cdc.gov/flu/. For more information about the flu, visit flu.delaware.gov/ or call DPH at 1-800-282-8672. Flu shots are still available at DPH clinics located within the State Service Centers:
• Porter State Service Center, 509 W. Eighth St., Wilmington. For all ages 9 and up. Walk-ins are welcome Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Call 302-283-7587 (choose Option 2) to make an appointment Monday through Friday.
• Williams State Service Center, 805 River Road, Dover. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Call 302-857-5140 to make an appointment Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Milford State Service Center – Riverwalk, 253 N.E. Front St., Milford. For ages 9 years and older. Mondays and Fridays. Walk-ins are accepted on Mondays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. By appointment only on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 302-424-7130 to make an appointment.
• Anna C. Shipley State Service Center, 350 Virginia Ave., Seaford. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Walk-ins welcome Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Adams State Service Center, 544 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. By appointment only. Call 302-515-3220 to make an appointment.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


DPH Announces Two Additional Flu-Related Deaths; Delawareans Should Follow Basic Tips to Stop Spread of Germs

DOVER – As the number of confirmed influenza cases in Delaware continues to rise, the Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing two recent flu-related deaths, bringing the total number of deaths for the 2019-2020 season thus far to four. The most recent victim is a 29-year-old New Castle County man diagnosed with influenza B who passed away this week. Additionally, last week, a 65-year-old New Castle County woman diagnosed with influenza A passed away due to complications from the flu.

Of the four individuals who have passed away this season, two persons were from Sussex County, and two were from New Castle County. None of the four individuals had received the flu vaccine and all had underlying medical conditions.

As of January 18, 2020, there have been 2,415 confirmed cases of influenza in Delaware, including 141 hospitalizations. These numbers reflect only the number of lab-confirmed cases; the actual number of cases circulating statewide is likely much higher.

“We can’t express enough sympathy for the friends and loved ones of those we have lost to flu this season,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The best protection against the flu is to get vaccinated every year. The vaccine is safe and effective for people six months and older. The vaccine makes you less likely to get the flu and will make your symptoms milder in the event that you do catch it. You should also visit your doctor if you’re feeling ill and take any antiviral medicine he or she prescribes as directed.”

In addition to getting a flu vaccine and taking antiviral medication, DPH recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as he or she may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. People with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are more susceptible to catching the flu.

Flu vaccines are available at many pharmacies and grocery stores, and through primary care physicians and some specialists. To find participating stores, enter your ZIP code in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s flu vaccine finder at www.cdc.gov/flu/. For more information about the flu, visit flu.delaware.gov/ or call DPH at 1-800-282-8672. Flu shots are still available at DPH clinics located within the State Service Centers:

• Porter State Service Center, 509 W. Eighth St., Wilmington. For all ages 9 and up. Walk-ins are welcome Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

• Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Call 302-283-7587 (choose Option 2) to make an appointment Monday through Friday.

• Williams State Service Center, 805 River Road, Dover. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Call 302-857-5140 to make an appointment Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• Milford State Service Center – Riverwalk, 253 N.E. Front St., Milford. For ages 9 years and older. Mondays and Fridays. Walk-ins are accepted on Mondays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. By appointment only on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 302-424-7130 to make an appointment.

• Anna C. Shipley State Service Center, 350 Virginia Ave., Seaford. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Walk-ins welcome Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• Adams State Service Center, 544 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Walk-ins welcome on Mondays only from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.