Get a flu shot. Cover your cough. Stay home if you're sick.

nys flu surveillance 2018-01-27

This graph is from the NYS DOH's weekly influenza surveillance report.

This winter's flu season is continuing to crank up here in New York State.

The latest surveillance from the state Department of Health reports a 50 percent increase in the number of lab-confirmed flu cases during the week that ended January 27. Every region of the state showed an upswing in positive results for flu, and every county in the state is now pegged as having influenza activity in the highest category. (It's been a relatively strong flu season across the nation.)

That graph above depicts the number of lab-confirmed cases across the state this season (red line) compared to the previous three seasons. And, yep, the flu is taking a big swing at us this time up.

Influenza is kind of like the weather. There are general seasons and patterns, but it's hard predict exactly what course it's going to take. So it's still worth getting a flu shot -- even though it's February and even though it takes a few weeks for your body to fully respond to the jab.

Here's a site that can point you toward where to get the shot. Many pharmacies now offer the flu vaccine right in the store, but call ahead to make sure there are still supplies in stock. And it's free under many health plans.

Getting the vaccine doesn't offer full protection, but if you do get the flu it can lessen the severity. And getting the shot can be beneficial not just to you, but also the people around you because it makes it less likely you'll spread the virus.

And beyond the shot:
+ Wash your hands.
+ Cover your mouth when you cough (preferably not with your hand).
+ Stay home when you're sick, if you can. And employers should do the right thing in this regard, too.

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