Doctors in New York are now urging state residents to get flu shots after authorities in Connecticut and New York reported that flu-related deaths have killed at least two children in those states this flu season. So far, at least 11,280 cases of influenza have been confirmed by labs across New York state.
Most flu patients this year have tested positive for an influenza strain called H3N2. This strain hits small children and the elderly more harshly than it does others. Doctors have recommended that the best way to protect children and others who are more susceptible to the virus is for adults to vaccinate themselves. According to a report from lohud, the above average 3,600 New Yorkers hospitalized for the flu this season has put a huge strain on hospitals.
New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has called influenza a “threat to public health” and is urging New Yorkers all over the state to get vaccinations against the virus immediately. While the vaccinations don’t completely stave off the flu in most cases, they do make the symptoms less severe as well as reduce the length of time the virus is contagious. This can reduce the number of people hospitalized by the virus in what’s shaping up to be a particularly brutal flu season. New York-Presbyterian Medical Groups in Westchester County, Brooklyn, and Queens have seen an uptick in the number of flu cases this season. Since August 2017 there have been 347 confirmed cases in these areas whereas last year at this time the number of cases was 230.
Nationwide the trend is similar to what’s been seen in New York. According to the Center for Disease Control, 13 children across the country have died from the flu this season. The California Department of Public Health has reported that the flu killed 27 people under 65 by the end of December and The Ohio Department of Health recently reported 369 more flu-related hospitalizations compared to this time last year.