The flu has hit at least 50 people in Milford, a number that reflects confirmed cases, according to information from the state Department of Public Health.
The illness is likely affecting many more people, whose sickness would not be reflected in the state number if they did not seek treatment through a physician, said Milford Health Agent Paul Mazzuchelli.
Last year at this time, Mazzuchelli said, Milford had about 12 to 15 confirmed cases.
The flu outbreak nationally is in 47 of 50 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and is among the worst in years. In Boston, where the mayor declared a public health emergency, several deaths have been attributed to the flu.
Milford had three free flu shot clinics in October, and about 300 town residents received the shot at that time. Mazzuchelli had hoped to schedule another town-organized flu shot clinic this week, but couldn't obtain the vaccine from the state DPH.
"They said all of them are going to pediatric offices," he said.
sidents received the shot at that time. Mazzuchelli had hoped to schedule another town-organized flu shot clinic this week, but couldn't obtain the vaccine from the state DPH.
"They said all of them are going to pediatric cases," he said.
The Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice of Greater Milford will hold a free flu shot clinic from 3 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 22, at its offices on Birch Street, for people who call to pre-register. The group is taking registrations because of limited availability of the shot. Call 508-422-1835 to schedule your appointment.
The flu shot also remains available through physicians and pediatricians, Mazzuchelli said. Pharmacies also can obtain the doses directly through manufacturers, he said, so people should check individual pharmacies to see if they have the shot available.
but several were expecting new shipments Monday.
Milford teachers should already have had the shot, as a clinic was made available at the schools.
Milford Schools Superintendent Robert Tremblay issued an email to all parents, principals and staff Monday, offering some tips to avoid contracting the virus.
In a phone interview, he said he had not yet heard of any spike in absenteeism among students.
In his email, he encouraged the old-fashioned but effective advice to wash hands frequently, and wash hands as long as it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue; Throw used tissue in the trash.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- In early childhood settings, keep toys and surfaces in the bathroom, play areas, and kitchen clean by wiping them down with soap and water or a household cleaner according to directions on the product label.
- Students must stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.)