NY Health Department: Influenza prevalent in the state

NY Health Department: Influenza prevalent in the state

People with preexisting conditions such as asthma and heart disease are also at greater risk as are individuals with weakened immune systems due to disease or medications such as chemotherapy or chronic steroid use, public health officials said.

"It works more effectively in younger people than in older people, but none the less even if it's only partially effective it's important because even if you get the flu despite getting the vaccine your illness is much more likely to be milder, you are less likely to get the complications", the doctor added.

Many might think of the flu as a temporary setback and inconvenience that comes with the territory during the late fall and winter months, but the reality is that it can be a very risky disease.

Infectious disease Dr. William Schaffner at Vanderbilt University Medical Center says the H3N2 strain came early, and they are already seeing people hospitalized.

Those numbers are, based off comparisons from Australia, which is wrapping up its flu season.

Officials say over the last three seasons, there have been 19 pediatric influenza deaths in NY and an average of 11,183 influenza-related hospitalizations each season.

2014 file shot showing flu alert signs placed at the front doors of Albany Memorial Hospital. But because the flu can be deadly to all ages, and the vaccine can be life-saving, we chose to verify its effectiveness. Consequently, the majority of flu cases reported in the U.S. so far this season have been that H3N2 strain.

Dr. Shaffner says this year's vaccine is good, but it's never ideal.

He predicts the peak of flu season will hit sometime between late December and early March 2018. The CDC recommends everyone aged 6 months and old get a flu shot as soon as possible as it is the best protection against seasonable flu viruses.

Officials from both agencies are urging residents to get their annual flu shot. Roughly 40 percent of the USA population opts for the vaccine every year, and the CDC estimates it prevents about 5 million flu cases annually across the country.

Influenza is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or death.

He identified symptoms of the flu as fever, cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, runny nose, nausea, diarrhoea, shortness of breath, joint pains and chills.

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