Flu season makes an early arrival

January 3, 2013 2:36:39 PM PST
The flu snuck in a early this season and it looks like it's coming on strong.

The virus can make you seriously ill. It can also be deadly.

The number of people getting sick is on the rise.

The flu is widespread throughout New York State and reported cases are up 9 percent last week from the previous week.

The virus is mainly spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk, and then infect others nearby. It's very contagious.

The CDC recommends everyone six months and older should get vaccinated especially people with chronic medical conditions like asthma and diabetes.

If you haven't gotten your flu shot, it's not too late. Otherwise, your setting yourself up for misery should the flu bug bite.

Some doctors say this flu season is already worse than last year and the year before. According to the Centers for Disease Control, starting two weeks ago the cases of the flu started to increase across the U.S.

At the emergency room at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan, Dr. Jennifer Stratton says they've seen quite a few cases already.

"It's been pretty busy. There have been a lot of patients here. I've heard by some, it's been the busiest season in years," Dr. Jennifer Stratton said.

Stratton says this year's vaccine covers three strains.

While the vaccine doesn't guarantee you won't get the flu, it can lessen the wallop if you do get sick. The more people who get immunized, the better.

"The more we have what's called herd immunity where the flu virus can't spread as quickly thru the community, there will be less people catching it and spreading it to those most susceptible," Dr. Stratton said.

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