Confirmed cases of flu rising across NY state

Confirmed cases of flu rising across NY state

Persons who have not received a flu shot this season are urged to do so.

Flu season has officially started in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) most recent FluView report for the week ending December 15, 2018 (Week 50). But the most important step to stop seasonal flu, according to the CDC, is for everyone 6 months or older to get vaccinated. That order is now codified into law.

Officials say the number of people hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed flu was 363 this past week, a 41 percent increase over the previous week. "Getting vaccinated protects you as well as the people around you, including those who are more vulnerable, like babies and young children, elderly people and people with chronic health conditions".

The CDC recently released data on early season flu vaccination coverage in the U.S., with new numbers showing that vaccination rates are up compared to the same time last season. The CDC reported six pediatric deaths, 4,310 infectionsand 18 weeks of widespread outbreaks.

Last week, State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker declared that influenza is prevalent in New York State.

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The state's southern counties and part of the northeastern area of the state were the only areas with no significant flu activity reported.

CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jonathan LaPook told "CBS This Morning" on Friday this year's vaccine is about 40 percent effective, which is on par with last year's vaccine, and that the best chance of avoiding the virus is to get vaccinated.

Unlike some viruses, influenza is easily killed by soap and hot water.

Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available.

Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. People with the flu are infectious for up to 7 days after symptoms begin.

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