Flu Explosion Triggers Public Health Advisory in Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley is being warned to take action now before the cold weather makes things worse.
Hudson Valley officials have announced that this year's flu season is already 500 times worse than last year, and we're only getting started. Last year 22,000 Americans died from the flu. If the past few weeks are any indication, that number could wind up being significantly higher this year.
Even though it's only October, the flu season is off to a dangerous start in the Hudson Valley. Just the other day I was at the pharmacy when I heard one of the pharmacists warning an older customer that flu cases are already on the rise. Now, the Orange County Department of Health has issued an official health advisory to all residents.
Commissioner of Health, Alicia Pointer, warns that there have already been almost 100 confirmed cases of influenza, which is a 500% increase from the same period last year. The spike in cases follows warnings from health officials that this year's flu season could be extremely bad.
Health professionals are "strongly recommending" that everyone six months and older receive their seasonal influenza vaccination as soon as possible. Experts say not to wait because the shot does take a few weeks to reach its full effectiveness. In order to be ready for holiday gatherings and cold, dry conditions it's suggested to get that shot before the end of October.
Some people may be under the impression that the flu is just a cold, but that is far from the truth. Young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and people over 65 years of age are at an increased risk for flu complications. Anyone who's actually got the flu can attest that it's no joke.
The good news is that the flu shot has been given out for 50 years and has been extensively studied. Aside from some mild side effects, the vaccine has proven to be extremely safe. While a flu vaccine won't keep everyone from getting the flu, it will drastically reduce the virus' severity and shorten the length of time it takes to recover.
The flu can be taken with all other routine vaccines, including the new COVID booster.