Hospitals have reported an increase in patients who tested positive for flu over the last three weeks, according to the most recent data from the Rhode Island Department of Health.
The agency's weekly flu report showed Rhode Island surging ahead of New England and the nation for the percentage of people heading to the doctor’s office with flu-like symptoms. The percentage spiked over the last three weeks, and is now higher than at this time in any of the last three flu seasons.
In Rhode Island, 24 people have died of flu-related illness so far this flu season. The patients were all adults, with the vast majority over the age of 65. Last season, health officials reported 33 flu-related deaths.
Across the country, health officials have been urging people to get vaccinated for the flu. Health experts recommend that you stay home, rest and get plenty of fluids if you have flu-like symptoms, generally a fever combined with a cough or a sore throat. Other symptoms can include a runny nose, head or body aches, chills, vomiting and diarrhea.