Flu shot still your best defense against virus as nationwide cases increase

Baystate Medical Center want to make sure you don't spread any

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s the time of the year when many people are getting sick. The cold, the flu, coughing and sneezing. 22News looked into how you can protect yourself, and others.

Right before you even walk in the lobby at Baystate Medical Center, you’re handed a tissue, sanitizer and mask dispenser.

Baystate Medical Center want to make sure you don’t spread any illness.

Confirmed flu cases have more than doubled in Massachusetts this winter

If you are feeling like you need to sneeze or cough, grab a tissue, use it, throw it away. Make sure you use some hand sanitizer and disinfect yourself, and if you know that you are sick, pick up a mask so you don’t spread it to other people.

People told 22News they’re trying to avoid close contact.

“I actually know somebody who is in the hospital right now with their little boy so it scares me,” said Kimberly Tasakovic of West Springfield. “I just try and stay away from everybody.”

Surge in flu cases causing Tamiflu shortages around western Massachusetts

Springfield resident Shay Furbert told 22News his son just got over the flu.

“He got a flu shot,” Furbert said. “Medicine, Theraflu. Well, as much Theraflu as you can give a little three year old.”

Infectious Disease Doctor Sarah Haessler at Baystate Medical Center told 22News, get the flu shot, wash your hands and avoid large crowds.

The flu is spread through coughing and sneezing. Baystate just put in place restrictions on visitors to protect patients and staff.

“And it just keeps going up and it hasn’t peaked yet,” Dr. Haessler told 22News. “Since it’s such a bad year we have made a decision that it’s in the best interest of our staff and patients to restrict visitors.”

Flu vaccine in high demand as illness spreads

Restrictions include, no more than two visitors at a time.

No one under 12-years-old. You are encouraged to come to appointments alone, and not with children.

The visitor restrictions include Baystate in Springfield, Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Baystate Wing and Baystate Noble.

This year, the virus mutated so the vaccine is only 30 percent effective, but it’s still your best defense.