If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, health officials say you should do so. The number of confirmed flu cases is skyrocketing across Central and Northern New York and the flu season has only just begun. YNN’s Carmella Mataloni tells us what health officials say you can to do avoid the bug.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y.--At this time last year, confirmed flu cases were only in the double digits. Now early into flu season, those numbers have spiked.
“This year, we had it early. October 17th was our first reported case. Going up like this, we don’t really know what that means for our future flu season,” said Faith Lustik, Jefferson County Public Health Planner.
There have been 301 confirmed cases of the flu in Jefferson County. Numbers have quadrupled in Oneida County to 474. And according to health officials in Onondaga County, they have seen 196 cases as of last week.
"We are seeing a steady increase in cases. So that’s just a need to remind ourselves about personal hand hygiene and getting those vaccines," said Kathy Mogle, Program Coordinator for Onondaga County Health Department.
Health officials say it is easy to mistake flu symptoms with the common cold.
The signs you should look out for include:
- Fever over 100°F
- Sore throat and congestion
- Body aches and abnormal fatigue
The key to getting better is rest.
"Don't go to places where there are a lot of people. Whether it's work, whether it's school, whether it's the mall or a faith based location. Stay home until you're feeling better. Try to stay away from people," said Mogle.
Health officials say part of the reason for the flu increase is because people didn't get their shots, which is causing the virus to spread.
Pharmacies from all over the area are offering the public the flu shot, like at Walgreens, where all you have to do is walk-in.
“It helps your body build up a defense, to help protect you from the virus and its complications,” said Walgreens Pharmacy Manager, Erik Tubolino.
Walgreens has seen an increase of more than twenty people coming in a day. Pharmacists say that it’s important to get vaccinated especially if you come in contact with a lot of people.
Those who are younger than five or older than fifty have the most risk.