Influenza has been confirmed in all 16 Maine counties and is now classified as widespread across the state. Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) reminds residents and visitors to get vaccinated and take proper precautions to stay healthy.

Flu viruses spread when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Seasonal influenza symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches and fatigue. In some cases, influenza can result in more severe symptoms. So far this season, Maine has recorded six flu-related deaths.

“Influenza is unpredictable and, in some cases, deadly,” said Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine CDC. “The most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza is to get vaccinated, and it’s not too late to get a flu shot.”

Influenza vaccination is recommended each year for anyone six months of age and older. It can reduce the risk of contracting the illness and its severity should a vaccinated person contract influenza. Studies show the vaccine saves children’s lives, prevents serious events associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart disease, and prevents influenza-related hospitalization among working-age and older adults.

Maine CDC suggests four simple steps to reduce the spread of the illness:

• Wash hands
• Cover a cough
• Stay home when sick
• Get vaccinated

For more information, visit maineflu.gov; to find the nearest vaccination options, visit vaccinefinder.org.