MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The state may be facing the worst flu season on record, with more than 17,000 new flu cases confirmed just last week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say nationwide a “second wave” of flu is hitting the United States, and they are urging people to take action, reports CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
At Northern Westchester Hospital, the flu prevention protocol is in full force as dozens of people with flu have visited the emergency room.
Associate Director Dr. Herberth Balsells says so far this month, 17 flu cases were severe enough to require a hospital stay, many with somewhat atypical symptoms: Nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain, in addition to fever, but not the typical fever, body aches, cough, runny nose.
“It’s been a bad season for us here,” he said.
“At this time now we’ve already had 92 deaths in the U.S., pediatric deaths,” said Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler.
The health commissioner says that’s almost triple last year’s pediatric death toll for the same period.
She says it’s important for parents to enforce good hand hygiene and urges everyone to get a flu shot.
It’s not perfect protection, but has huge benefits for those who still might catch it.
“People who’ve had a flu shot may go on to develop the flu, but they’re less likely to have the severe complications, including death,” said Amler.
The state health department says New York has seen almost 106,824 confirmed flu cases so far this season, with three flu-associated pediatric deaths.
Concern about the second wave of flu has the local health department extending flu shot clinics thru the end of February, something it hasn’t done for many years.