NEW YORK — The flu hasn't reached its peak season yet, but New York is seeing its second-highest weekly flu cases within the last two decades.
The number of flu cases across the state are expected to set record-high levels since the health department started tracking the sickness in the 1998-99 season, officials said.
There have been 17,233 laboratory-confirmed flu weekly cases, according to the latest report for the week ending Feb. 8. The most lab-confirmed flu cases reported during a single week in a flu season was 18,252 in the 2017-18 season.
A total of 106,824 lab-confirmed cases reported in New York State this season, with three flu-associated pediatric deaths, officials said.
The CDC estimates that there have been at least 26 million flu illnesses and about 14,000 deaths across the country.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo reminded all New Yorkers to take recommended precautions to protect themselves from the flu. "I encourage all New Yorkers older than six months to get their flu shot - it's not too late."
The State Health Department recommends and urges that everyone six months of age or older receive an influenza vaccination. In addition, everyday preventative actions can help stop the spread of flu and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.