BANGOR – Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC), the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in Maine, is reminding Mainers that it is not too late to get a vaccine for influenza. The reminder comes as the nation and the world are talking about the potential spreading of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and PCHC officials caution that a flu shot will only help to attack the flu virus. But it is still important to take efforts to fight any preventable virus.
“We see warmer weather and the first day of spring on the calendar, and the natural tendency might be to think that we are through the worst of it,” said Dr. Noah Nesin, Chief Medical Officer at PCHC. “But in 2019, we saw a rapid acceleration of flu cases in March before the flu season ended with more than 10,000 reported cases total. As we hear more about additional viruses or diseases, it’s important to take every step we can take to protect ourselves against what is preventable.”
According to numbers reported to the state, nearly 7,000 cases of influenza have been confirmed in this flu season as of the week ending Feb. 22, 2020, with Penobscot County reporting the highest number of positive tests in that week. While the flu vaccine can help prevent, Dr. Nesin recommends additional, simple methods to protect against any virus including flu and COVID-19.
“The simple acts of washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when you’re sick can really help slow the spreading of any virus,” said Dr. Nesin. “A thorough hand washing is good practice whether it’s flu season or not. That means using warm, soapy water, and scrubbing the back of your hands, the palms of your hands, in between fingers and under fingernails, long enough to sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’ to yourself twice. This method is by no means perfect, but it can certainly go a long way toward helping protect yourself and others.”
Flu vaccines are available at PCHC locations, and at many pharmacies and primary care providers around the state. More general information about the flu can be found at www.MaineFlu.gov.
More details about PCHC are available at www.pchc.com.
About Penobscot Community Health Care
Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) is a non-profit, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) founded in 1997 to ensure access to comprehensive, integrated primary health care services for all to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and the Maine communities served. Seventeen practices and program service sites in the Bangor area, and in Belfast and Jackman, offer a wide range of services, including family medicine, dental, pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, medication assisted treatment and substance use disorder services, urgent/walk-in care services, as well as specialty services such as speech, audiology and chiropractic services, retail and primary care pharmacy, and healthcare for the homeless. Online at www.pchc.com.