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NY Health Department Warns Influenza is Spreading

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It's flu season, and that means it's time to take precautions -- New York State Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker declared, Tuesday, that influenza (flu) is now prevalent in New York State.

According to NY Health Department, from December 17 to December 23, there were 1,745 cases of flu confirmed (an increase of 96%). With the Southern Tier being one of the highest hit, young children and people over 65 are the most at risk.

Tioga County of Public Health (TCPH) is urging everyone from the ages of three and older receive their influenza vaccination. Offering free flu shots for any Tioga County resident, the TCPH is allowing locals to schedule appointments by calling (607) 687-8600 option* 3.

The flu virus is spread through direct contact. If an infected person coughs or sneezes on a surface, someone touching that surface could become infected. In order to help prevent the spread of influenza, health officials are asking people to wash their hands thoroughly and try to avoid anyone affected by the illness.

Tioga Health officials warn, the flu shot may not be 100% effective, but it does help prevent a chance of infection as well as lessen symptoms. 

"People that get the flu shot are less likely to get the flu than those who don't. And if vaccinated people do get the flu, their symptoms will be milder because of the vaccine," said Mel Miller, Tioga County Supervising Public Health Nurse.

Flu season can start as early as October and run all the way into May. New York State Department of Health recommends everyone from the ages of six months and older receive the flu vaccine. 

For questions or more information call Tioga County Public Health at 687-8600, or visit their website for more information.