Flu season in the Southern Tier: Seven things you need to know

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According to the most recent numbers from Dallas County Health and Human Services, the 39th patient was an 81-year-old resident from Dallas while the most recent was a 17-year-old resident from Dallas. The number of confirmed cases in the eight counties served by the health department has already reached 662 this season. During 2012, there were multiple outbreaks of H3N2v resulting in 309 reported cases.

Flu season begins in late fall, usually peaks in mid to late winter and can continue through early spring.

Although flu season is in full swing, Ray and Khoukaz said it's not too late to get a flu shot or to take other precautions.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated that 759 people died of flu-related illnesses between October 7 and December 23.

'The flu season isn't over and I would strongly encourage people who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated and to continue to maintain good respiratory, hand and general hygiene, ' he said.

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald told the newspaper that the flu shot is still the best way to protect yourself from getting sick. Influenza Vaccination Clinics will be held by participating local Health Departments on January 27, 2018. Another influenza B virus subtype also is circulating, "and that's no fun, either", Bergen said. It's an H3N2 virus year, which tends to hit older people and younger children really hard.

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In addition, always try to avoid close contact with people who are ill.

"We are not restricting visitors at this time, but are re-evaluating if the activity increases we will put the signs up and let people know visitors are restricted", she said. The flu is spread by droplets that are caused by sneezing, coughing, and talking. "Being vaccinated is going to assure to have at least a shorter duration of illness and probably milder flu", said a doctor.

Numerous area hospitals rolled out campaigns and stations to remind people to clean properly, wear face masks when coming in for health care and follow other tips to prevent against illness for the next couple months. Warning signs of the flu include: high fever, headache, joint or muscle pain, cough, chills, sore throat, congestion and fatigue.

If you have either the cold or flu with vomiting and/or diarrhea, see a doctor. You are responsible for what you say.

Jennifer Tornetta, AtlantiCare spokeswoman, said it may be better to ask a friend or other family member to visit or accompany a loved one to dialysis, cancer treatment or other care to better protect them, other patients and staff from the flu. Though a contingency plan assures that flu tracking will still go on as usual, this shutdown nonetheless should have you washing your hands with soap and warm water for twice as long.

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