Yep, this flu season continues to be bad

new york state influenza cases 2018-02-08 report

That red line is the weekly number of lab-confirmed influenza cases reported in New York State this winter, compared to the previous three winters. / graph: NYS DOH

So the flu is kind of being a jerk this winter.

The number of lab-confirmed influenza cases in the State of New York continued to climb sharply during the most recent surveillance period*, the state Department of Health reported Thursday.

The Cuomo admin says the weekly number of lab-confirmed cases and hospitalizations for the flu was the highest on record since reporting began in 2004. The previous record had been... the week before.

Even though it's later in the season, public health agencies are still urging people to get a flu shot if they haven't so far. Here's a site that can you help find a place to get the jab -- be sure to check before heading out, though, because supplies are running low at some places. There are some early indications this season's flu shot doesn't match up well with one of the main types of flu in circulation this year, but it's still better than nothing.

Beyond that:

+ Wash your hands.

+ Cover your mouth when you cough, preferably not with your hand.

+ If you're sick, stay home if you can. (This is an example of how paid sick time could help everyone.)

Influenza is kind of like weather -- there tend to be general trends, but it's hard to predict exactly what course it's going to take. Let's hope the pattern shifts soon.

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The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) in Albany takes that type of thing. I did an internship there and it's a really great organization and the refugees who receive the items are super grateful.

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