NY's top doc: Flu is prevalent throughout the state

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Flu vaccination can also come in the form of a live-flu mist, but the CDC is not recommending that anyone get that this year because it's been less effective than the shot in recent years.

It is not too late to get vaccinated and there are ample amounts of the vaccine available.

"Getting a flu vaccine is the single most effective way to prevent the flu, but it doesn't stop there", said Dr. Alvaro Garza, San Joaquin County Public Health Officer.

Federal and state officials are pushing flu shots more urgently than ever because Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are concerned about a form of the flu that has caused a huge number of illnesses and deaths in Australia.

The Centers for Disease Control are showing sharp increases in the number of positive tests for the virus.

"If you get the flu shot, at least you've done everything in your power to keep from getting it", McCoy said. The researchers found that the flu vaccine's effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2) declines by 33% within 6 months of vaccination and by 19% for influenza B viruses.

Zucker described influenza as a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or death.

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Influenza is now prevalent in New York State, Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker declared Wednesday.

Getting your flu shot can also contribute to "herd immunity" - less cases of the flu overall means more protection for the most vulnerable people in the population: the elderly, children, and individuals with certain allergies who can't get the vaccine.

A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children's risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74 percent during flu seasons from 2010-2012.

"Much of the influenza that they recognize now that is circulating is a fairly good match with the strains in the vaccine", she says.

The CDC notes that the flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women as well as breastfeeding mothers, who can reduce their risk of catching the flu and passing it on to their infants by receiving a flu shot. This protective benefit was observed for four months after birth.

"But there are other people that can catch the same infection and actually become very sick because their immune system doesn't work properly or they have another health condition that puts them at risk of becoming very ill with viruses bacterial that in an otherwise healthy person would just be a minor illness", she says. Putting others at risk can be unsafe and you could also give the flu back to yourself if you're continuing to work.

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