New Yorkers are urged to get flu shot as influenza cases spike

Flu outbreaks increase nationwide, widespread activity in some states

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The good news is that 28 states (Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) experienced minimal flu activity, as of December 15, 2018. Westchester is one of the counties with the highest increase in the number of flu cases. The CDC reports high levels of illness in nine states, and moderate levels in seven others plus Puerto Rico.

Influenza A viruses have been dominating in the United States since the beginning of October, the CDC said, although influenza B viruses are circulating, as well. That jump is a far cry, however, from the same week last flu season when reported cases spiked to 2,332.

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One of the deadliest influenza years for children was 2017 when 80 percent of the children who died of flu complications hadn't been vaccinated. Last flu season was the county's worst in almost 20 years of collecting data, with 342 residents succumbing to flu complications.

A year ago, Livingston County had almost 700 lab-confirmed cases of flu in what was an especially virulent season. In addition to doctors, pharmacists in NY may administer the flu vaccine to anyone two years of age and older. Also at high risk are adults 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of long-term care facilities and people with medical conditions including weakened immune systems, asthma, heart disease and diabetes. As long as flu is circulating in the area where you live, it is not too late to get vaccinated.

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Although many people don't get vaccinated over fears that it can cause the flu, Dr. LaPook said that is "scientifically impossible".

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