Influenza (flu) activity continues to increase across New Mexico. Since October, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has investigated 21 flu outbreaks in long-term care facilities, which is more than was reported during the entire 2016-2017 flu season. Influenza-related hospitalizations, especially in those aged 65 and older, continue to steadily increase. There have been 18 influenza related deaths and 72 pneumonia related deaths in adults to date this season.
“It is important to remember we are still in the middle of the influenza season, and people who have not yet been vaccinated still have time to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Dr. Michael Landen, NMDOH State Epidemiologist. “It is important to remain vigilant to reduce the impact that flu is having on our communities.”
In addition to vaccination for all persons 6 months and older, NMDOH recommends good hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing etiquette as the best methods to prevent flu.
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, public health offices, and pharmacies, as well as by many employers and some schools. NMDOH encourages those with health insurance to contact their healthcare provider or pharmacist about getting the flu vaccine.
- Pregnant women (any trimester) and up to two weeks post-partum
- Children younger than 5 years, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- People age 65 years and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and lung or heart disease and those with immunosuppression from medication or disease
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including healthcare personnel and caregivers of babies younger than 6 months
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives
- People who are morbidly obese