New Mexico flu cases on the rise as holidays approach
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – ‘Tis the season to come down with one of those winter-time bugs.
“If you’re going to be traveling, that increases your risk. If you’re going on planes or trains or that sort of thing,” said Madison Schaeffer, director of the New Mexico Department of Health helpline.
Flu cases in New Mexico are on the rise. In the first week of December, the Department of Health reported a big spike in hospitalizations for New Mexicans 65 and older.
“Things are starting to go up. It’s not unexpected, it’s winter, right. It’s flu season,” said Schaeffer.
Schaeffer says flu season is made worse with a similar uptick in RSV and COVID-19 cases. This year, she says fewer New Mexicans are getting vaccinated.
“I think flu vaccines are always effective. We don’t always know until the end of the season exactly how effective they are in terms of preventing transmission. But regardless of how effective it is at stopping you from getting the flu, it’s always very effective in preventing hospitalization and death, even if it’s not a perfect match,” Schaeffer said.
She says there’s still time to schedule an appointment to protect yourself or other high-risk family members you’re planning to visit.
“I can tell you one of the reasons I get my flu and COVID shots are to help my parents and grandparents. I worry about seniors, they have a higher potential to get really sick,” said Schaeffer.
The good news is that the state’s most recent flu report did not list any adult or pediatric flu related deaths so far this season. But one flu outbreak was reported at one of a long term care facilities.