Two-fold increase in flu cases in Erie County

Posted at 6:16 AM, Dec 30, 2014

If you don't already have the flu, you probably know someone who has the virus. Erie County has seen a two-fold increase in the number of flu cases in just the past two weeks.

"Our surveillance data shows that the number of positive tests for influenza more than doubled in one week, representing an increase of 127 percent," said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein.

The New York State Department of Health also says flu numbers are on the rise. Last week more people tested positive for the flu than the entire previous month.

Of those testing positive, the majority were between the ages of 18-49.

Experts say although most people get their flu shots earlier in the year it's not too late.  Flu season will peak during the next few months but has no limits, people often get the virus year round.

If you have flu symptoms, which include the sudden onset of fever, muscle aces, chill and extreme tiredness, as well as vomiting or diarrhea, health officials urge you to contact your health care provider before going to an emergency room. If you do not have a primary care physician, you're urged to visit an urgent care facility. Emergency rooms are meant for people who are extremely ill.

If you catch the flu, stay at home and rest. Be sure to drink plenty of water and treat fever and other symptoms with over-the-counter medicines. The Centers for Disease Control recommend staying home until 24 hours after your fever subsides.

To help protect yourself from catching the flu or spreading it to others, make sure you wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.