Number of flu cases in Erie County increasing this season

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Erie County Department of Health says flu activity “has been steadily increasing” since the middle of December.

During Winter, the health department says influenza “is responsible for about 30% of all the respiratory infections.”

The picture above shows positive test results for the flu for this season, as well as previous ones.

“The number of positive tests for influenza (“flu”) has been increasing each week in December,” Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health, said.  “Our surveillance data show that flu activity is currently widespread in Erie County, throughout New York State and most of the United States. It will likely continue to spread before we see the traditional flu season draw to a close.”

The health department says most people with a mild case of the flu can rest, drink fluids and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat themselves. An example of a brand name of acetaminophen is Tylenol.

“If you have the flu, stay at home and rest. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Avoid close contact with well people in your house so you do not make them sick. Drink plenty of liquids to prevent fluid loss (i.e., dehydration) and treat fever and other symptoms with over-the-counter medication,” the health department said.

If anyone has difficulty breathing, dizziness, shortness of breath or weakness, the health department advises them to go to an urgent care center.

The people who are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu are:

  • young children, especially those under 2 years of age
  • women who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding
  • people 65 years and older
  • people who are immunosuppressed
  • people with chronic health conditions, such as asthma or other chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
  • people who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications

Flu vaccines are still available, and the health department says it is not too late to get one.

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