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NYS Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker is urging all New Yorkers six months of age and over who have not yet received a flu shot to get vaccinated as soon as possible.  Cases of influenza are rising and new cases have been reported in 61 of 62 counties.

Dr. Zucker stated, "Influenza is a significant threat to public health, and we are strongly encouraging anyone who has not already gotten the flu vaccine to get one immediately.  Getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself, it also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions."

Adults aged 65 years and older, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions such as suppressed immune systems are among those at highest risk for serious flu complications, which may require hospitalization and could result in death.  Since the flu virus can spread through coughing or sneezing, it is especially important for family members and people who have regular contact with high-risk individuals to be vaccinated. 

The flu can cause mild to severe illness.  Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.  Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.  People infected with the flu may have respiratory symptoms without a fever.  People who are very sick or those at high risk of serious flu complications should be treated early with flu antiviral drugs.  Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of symptoms first appearing.  There are no current shortages of antiviral drugs, and manufacturers report they expect to meet projected seasonal demands.

In addition to getting a flu shot, it's important to 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.

For more information about the flu, visit


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