Updated: October 29, 2019 11:24 PM
Created: October 29, 2019 11:07 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester area doctors and health officials urged the public to get vaccinated for influenza as an early start to the flu season brought more than a dozen documented cases and one death.
Doctor Justin Cherubim at Jordan Health declared it would become pretty clear at his urgent care office when flu season kicks in in earnest.
“We see a lot more flu!” he said.
Already the Center for Community Health & Prevention at the University of Rochester Medical Center documented 14 cases of flu in Monroe County between October 1 and October 19, including one case that killed a child under the age of five.
“Influenza has come into western New York already, so it’s a little bit early this year,” Dr. Neil Herendeen at Golisano Children’s Hospital said.
“I’ve seen more of an increase starting in October, the beginning of October,” Cherubim said.
Cherubim said flu cases could end up mixed in with a variety of other viral infections that hit during the winter months and some flu cases might not even be tested for or diagnosed.
For a healthy adult, he suggested the best thing to do when you get sick is to stay in bed, avoid infecting other people and use over-the-counter medication for aches and pains;
He said patients who are concerned about their illness should get medical attention right away, because anti-viral drugs can help.
“You want to go see your doctor within the first 24 to 48 hours of the onset of symptoms,” Ryan O’Melia, a registered nurse at Jordan health said, “which is usually fever, body aches, night sweats and you just don’t feel good. You feel like something hit you.”
Health officials reiterated the importance of getting the flu vaccine. Anyone over 6 months old can get it, and this year, the vaccine is available as a nasal spray for those queasy about needles.
Very young children, the elderly, and those with chronic health problems are considered most in danger from the flu.
“COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] people,” Cherubim said. “People with chronic heart problems, lung problems, asthmatics… when they get the flu on top of it, that can be very bad.”
Doctors insisted those risks only made it more important for healthier adults to get vaccinated too.
“You can be a 30-year-old healthy person,” Cherubim said, “but you’re taking care of a grandparent at home that’s in their 70s or something and they’re not that well to start with. Yeah, you want to go too because you don’t want to get the flu and pass it on to them.”
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