Flu Activity is High: Here's What to Know

Flu Activity is High: Here's What to Know

Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

 

It's flu season and this year it's hitting the New York Tri-State Area hard. According to the New York State Flu Tracker, there are currently 89,597 cases of the flu this season in New York.

 

CityMD’s Director of Quality & Medical Education, Dr. Frank Illuzzi, shared his insight on the latest flu activity in the tri-state area and his recommendations on how to protect yourself from getting the flu.

 

What makes the flu worse this year? 

 

Dr. Illuzzi: There are a couple of elements at play:

 

Flu season started earlier than normal this year, beginning before Christmas and elevating every week since. While Influenza Type A is the predominant strain of flu, this year Influenza Type B was the initial predominant strain in December and early January. Since mid-January, we have also been seeing Influenza Type A cases present, in addition to the Type B cases.

 

I received my flu shot, am I protected?

 

Dr. Illuzzi: Getting a flu vaccine is always a good idea (it's a myth that the flu shot causes the flu). Even though the vaccine is not 100% effective at preventing the flu, your symptoms are much less severe than if you aren't vaccinated. Effectiveness varies from season to season, and depends upon the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine. It's also important to protect yourself by washing your hands regularly and wiping surfaces down.

 

What if I haven't received the shot yet? 

 

Dr. Illuzzi: There's still time to get vaccinated — flu season hasn't peaked yet. Of course, the sooner the better, as it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to become effective. So, stop by your nearest CityMD location to get your flu shot as soon as possible.

 

Which strain is stronger this season?

 

Dr. Illuzzi: Influenza Type A and Type B appear equally contagious this year. They have similar symptoms that include:

 

Fever or chills

Cough

Sore throat

Runny or stuffy nose

Muscle or body aches

Headaches

Fatigue

In certain cases, vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more common in children than adults.

 

I have the flu. Now what?

 

Dr. Illuzzi: If you realize you have the flu soon enough — 48 to 72 hours after the initial symptoms appear — then stop by your nearest CityMD to get antiviral medications. If it's too late then take care of yourself (and others) by:

 

Not going to work or school

Resting

Drinking plenty of fluids

Taking Tylenol or Advil to manage aches and fever

 

Flu season is terrible. When will it end?

 

Dr. Illuzzi: While the flu commonly peaks between December and February, seasonal flu activity begins as early as October and lasts as late as May. So, be sure to always take precautions.

 

Author Bio:

As a board-certified Physician in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Frank Illuzzi has served in many clinical, academic, and leadership roles. Most recently, he served as the Chair of Emergency Medicine at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Connecticut. Dr. Illuzzi also holds an academic appointment as Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Frank Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Among his many achievements, Dr. Illuzzi was a finalist for the Magida Award for “Outstanding Young Physician of the Year.” He has published many articles and textbook chapters in his areas of academic interest, and is a sought after lecturer for national medical conferences.