ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York Health Department is urging New Yorkers to get the flu shot this year.
Flu season typically starts in October and continues through May.
Health officials says adults aged 65 years or older, people with certain chronic medical conditions, young children and pregnant women are among those at highest risk for severe flu complications, which may require hospitalization and result in death.
“The single best way to protect against the influenza virus is to get a flu shot every year,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. “The flu is easily transmitted from person to person and can cause serious complications that may require hospitalization. Getting vaccinated even when you’re not at high-risk will protect family and friends.”
Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.
The Health Department says last year in New York, there were 12,912 flu-related hospitalizations and eight pediatric deaths. Over the last four years, there have been a total of 25 pediatric flu deaths and an average of 10,571 flu-related hospitalizations each year.
In addition to getting a flu shot, practice good hand-hygiene:
- Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself from germs and avoid spreading them to others.
- Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60% alcohol.
- Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults over the age of 65 should take additional precautions:
- Seek medical advice early to see if you need treatment with antiviral drugs. These medications are most effective when given early.
- Get a pneumococcal vaccine. People who are 65 years of age and older and get the flu are at risk for developing pneumonia.
For additional information about influenza, visit: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/.