Flu Is Now 'Prevalent' In New York

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The study focused specifically on flu-related respiratory illnesses, but influenza can also worsen chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, or cause other serious complications, including encephalitis and organ failure.

"If you've had the flu vaccine and you still get the flu you are much less likely to be hospitalized with pneumonia, than if you didn't have the vaccine at all", said Dr. Hawse.

It is now higher than usual for this time of year said the report.

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Flu vaccination can also come in the form of a live-flu mist, but the CDC is not recommending that anyone get that this year because it's been less effective than the shot in recent years.

It is not too late to get vaccinated, and there are ample amounts of the vaccine available, Zucker said. Influenza season occurs primarily from October through May, often peaking in February. Likewise, the 257 hospitalizations since the recognized start of the flu season mark a significant increase over the 83 to this point a year ago.

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In addition to lowering your chances of getting the flu, the shot can also make the illness milder if you do catch it. Studies of pregnant women who get the flu shot have also shown it can reduce their newborns' risk of catching the flu by half. High flu activity has continued in 3 states - Louisiana, Mississippi, and SC - and laboratory testing of respiratory specimens shows that influenza A (H3N2) has continued to be predominant this flu season.

Seasonal flu kills between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide every year, a new analysis of data from 47 countries suggested Wednesday.

This season's flu vaccine includes the same H3N2 vaccine component as last season, and most circulating H3N2 viruses that have been tested in the U.S. this season are still similar to the H3N2 vaccine virus. Go to https://www.vaccinefinder.org to find a location near you where you can get vaccinated.

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It takes two weeks for the vaccine to be effective and flu is already active in our community, Lantrip said. "Everyone can help prevent the spread of flu by washing hands with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick". But because the flu can be deadly to all ages, and the vaccine can be life-saving, we chose to verify its effectiveness.

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