Protecting yourself from the flu

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Health officials say flu activity is very high in Virginia and North Carolina, and local hospitals are recommending people wear masks to help stop it from spreading.

“I’m wearing the mask because I don’t want to catch the flu, no nothing. I want to stay healthy,” said Gracie Joyner, a visitor at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center.

Health workers are doing the same thing. More people are coming in with the flu, and some of them have already had their flu shots.

Dr. Ben Fickenscher at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center said, “This year, unfortunately, the flu vaccine has not been as effective as it has been in the past. We’re seeing some strains not covered by the vaccination, and therefore, we’re seeing a lot of patients becoming sick earlier than we would normally see them.”

But health experts agree the flu shot continues to offer the best protection against the virus.

Chesapeake Health Department Epidemiologist Lisa Engle adds, “We still want them to get the flu vaccine, and the number one thing people need to do is stay home if they are sick. That’s a problem we have nationwide. People want to go to work and go to their social activities and they’re spreading it. They want to go to school. We need the kids to stay home if they’re sick.”

Frequent hand washing, covering your cough and eating right can help, according to health experts, who say to go to a doctor if you come down with the flu.

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