Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Protecting yourself from the flu

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Protecting yourself from the flu
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If you haven't received a flu shot this season, you may want to think about getting one. Health officials are seeing a high number of cases this season. Our Melissa Kakareka shows us what you can do to protect yourself from getting sick.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Judith Murphy gets a flu shot every year. She visited a clinic at the Broome County Health Department on Wednesday to get her annual vaccination.

"I just think it's a good idea. I have grandchildren living nearby. I'd rather not be a carrier to give it to them," said Murphy.

Health officials are reminding others to do the same if they haven't already. This year's flu season could be one of the worst on record.

Locally, the Broome County Health Department says there have already been about 440 cases in the county this season.

"This year, it did start early and we are widespread and seeing a lot of cases right now," said Broome County Health Department Registered Nurse Susan Blythe.

Symptoms of influenza include head and body aches, fever, fatigue and a cough and could be serious in some people.

"It is not always mild for people with other health conditions. They are more apt to get a very serious case of the flu or a serious complication," said Blythe.

Health officials say you can prevent the flu by washing your hands and keeping them away from your face. Experts also suggest proper rest and recommend people stay away from others with the virus. Still, they say the best line of defense is the flu shot.

"The vaccine is recommended for everyone now six months and up, so it is important that everyone get it. We are seeing a lot of flu cases in children too this season, so everyone should be immunized if they are able to be," said Blythe.

Something that people like Murphy have already crossed off their to do list.

"It didn't hurt. There wasn't even a line. It was very quick to come in to the health department and get the shot," said Murphy.

Flu season usually ends in March but could potentially last until May.

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