Don’t let the warmer weather fool you, flu season is still here.
Flu cases across New York State spiked the week of April 5, according to the New York State Department of Health. There was a 23 percent increase in laboratory-confirmed flu cases throughout New York State compared to the previous week, according to a weekly report from the department.
Donna Armellino, North Shore-LIJ Health System’s vice president of infection prevention said that since about the second week in March, there has been an increase in B strain cases at North Shore-LIJ hospitals, consistent with the trend across the state.
There are two different strains of the flu – A and B. The B strain typically has milder symptoms, Ms. Armellino said.
So despite the onset of spring, flu rules still apply. People who are concerned they may be infected should avoid coming in close contact with others and practice good personal hygiene, such as hand washing to prevent spreading the virus, said Alan Mensch, MD, senior vice president of medical affairs at Syosset and Plainview hospitals, who is also a pulmonologist.
The doctor says it’s important for people to start taking flu medications shortly after they notice symptoms, which is when those medicines are most effective. Dr. Mensch recommends that flu-like symptoms such as body aches and an usually high fever should lead to a doctor’s visit. And he reminds everybody that it’s critical for people to get the flu vaccine each year, particularly those most susceptible to the virus, such as people with compromised immune systems and the elderly.
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