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Health

Flu activity increasing across central and northern NY

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Daniel Paquet
/
Flickr

Flu season is ramping up across central and northern New York. The state health department has declared the flu “prevalent” across the state, and local figures back that up.

The Onondaga County Health Department starts keeping flu statistics in October. Since then there have been 152 cases reported, but the numbers recently started accelerating.

"Last week there were a total of 61," said Public Health Educator Andrea Flood. "But to give you a comparison, the week before there were 27, so it really jumped up. And most of our flu cases are influenza type B."

Flood said the way to avoid getting sick is to get a flu shot, that protects against four strains of type A and type B flu. She admits the flu vaccine doesn’t fully prevent the flu in some cases, and that’s one reason people often don’t get the shot, she said it’s still a good idea.

"Because even if you do get the flu and you have the shot, your symptoms are less severe," she said. "You might not be as sick for as many days, you might not have some of the symptoms like body aches or headaches, and you are less likely to be hospitalized for it."

And she said there no shortages of the vaccine this year.

"You can go to any of your pharmacies to get a flu shot. You can go to your primary care doctor. They should have decent amount of flu vaccine in their immunization office. You can come to Onondaga County if you don’t have health insurance."

Flood said this is a good time to get a vaccine if you want to stay flu-free for the holidays, because it takes about two weeks to offer full protection. Across New York State there have been almost 3,200 flu cases confirmed, about 700 hospitalizations, and the death of one child.