PORTLAND, MAINE -- A woman wears a button after getting a flu shot at a Walgreens drug store in Portland. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A recent uptick in seasonal influenza cases has public health officials urging Mainers to get the flu vaccine.

“Maine’s flu season is undeniably here but it’s not too late to protect yourself and your loved ones in time for holiday gatherings,” Nirav D. Shah, director of Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a press release Thursday. “This year’s flu vaccine is a good match for the strains of the virus circulating in Maine and across the country.”

Sixty-three people were hospitalized with the virus last week, officials noted, a more than 150 percent increase over last week. Half of those hospitalized were over the age of 65. Flu is present in all 16 counties.

The recent spike in cases is faster than Maine typically experiences this time of year, officials said. In 2022 at least 31 flu outbreaks have been reported in addition to 110 hospitalizations and 3,446 positive tests for the virus.

Common symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, aches, fatigue and congestion. Severe cases of the flu can result in hospitalization and death.

Vaccines can reduce the risk and severity of infection, officials said.

“Getting your flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the spread of flu, as well as its worst impacts,” Shah said.

If you’re sick, the CDC recommends you stay home from work. And if you’re feeling healthy, basic hygiene practices such as hand washing and covering your mouth when coughing can reduce the spread of the virus.

Click here to find the nearest flu vaccination center.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the spread of flu across Maine’s counties. Flu is present in all 16 counties.