JANUARY 17, 2013 rier • U NS Co ee The QU EPIDEMIC: Photo courtesy New York Daily News 6 for BrEAkiNg NEws visiT www.queenscourier.com CUOMO DECLARES PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY BY ALEXA ALTMAN four times the number of cases reported email@example.com last year. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) stated that as of January Two days after Christmas, Diane K. 5, 2,884 patients were hospitalized with woke up with a bout of the flu. The the flu. 66-year-old Bayside resident, who pre- Two children in New York State and ferred her last name not be used, fought off 18 children across the United States have the viral infection’s high fever and aches died as a result of this year’s seasonal flu. over the next few days with Tamiflu and “We are experiencing the worst flu sea- rest. But when it was announced that this son since at least 2009, and influenza season’s flu had reached epidemic propor- activity in New York State is widespread, tions, Diane decided she didn’t want to with cases reported in all 57 counties take another chance. and all five boroughs of New York City,” with chronic health conditions like asth- said Dr. Sorana Segal-Maurer, Director “I’m usually very healthy,” she said. “I Cuomo said. ma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and of the Infectious Disease Section. Many don’t get sick, but with the epidemic — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control people 65 years and older. coming in might feel down and miserable, I’m the only person I know who hasn’t and Prevention (CDC) tested this year’s The CDC cautions those hoping to but not actually have the flu, she said. As gotten the flu shot yet.” known influenza viruses against the three obtain the flu vaccine that the coveted a result, people with a cold could expose Diane called several local pharmacies, viruses included in the 2012-2013 vaccine. shot may be difficult to find. Pharmacies themselves to and contract the flu strain. many of which had run out of the vaccine To date, all of the influenza A (H1N1) have reported an increase in the number At Elmhurst Hospital, Dr. George in the wake of the epidemic, before run- and influenza A (H3N2) viruses that of people looking to get vaccinated, and Alonso, head of Infection Control, said ning to the Rite Aid on Bell Boulevard for have been tested match the vaccine and contacting more than one provider may be the number of emergency room visits and the high-dose version of the shot. approximately 69 percent of the known a necessary part of the search. admissions for the flu are higher than In response to the early and rapid influenza B viruses match the vaccine. A pharmacy staff mem- the last few years – probably Andrew Cuomo declared a public health reached epidemic status, causing 7.3 per- Boulevard in Astoria said VISIT 2009. While he could notsince the N1H1 outbreak inber at the CVS on DitmarsAccording to the CDC, the flu has spread of this year’s flu season, Governor emergency for all of New York State. The cent of deaths last week. The CDC’s epi- they ran out of the flu shot queenscourier.com give an exact number of governor also issued an executive order demic threshold is marked at 7.2 percent. several days ago and had just Have you how many more patients which permits pharmacists to administer Every region of the United States — been restocked today. gotten the flu were coming in, Alonso said flu vaccinations to patients between the excluding the Southwest and California — “We have them in stock Let us know! infected people were morethis season? ages of six months and 18 years of age, registered a spike in the number of cases of now but now a lot people are than January 2012. suspending for the next 30 days the State the flu over the past week. coming in to get them,” said the pharmacy “It’s certainly higher than it was at the Education Law that limits the authority The CDC said that flu-associated deaths staff member, who estimated they would same period last,” Alonso said. of pharmacists to administer immunizing each season range from 3,000 people to be out of the vaccine again by the end of Both doctors suggested people should agents to those older than 18. about 49,000 people. Those at increased the day. get vaccinated as soon as possible. The So far this season, 19,128 cases of the risk for serious flu complications include Emergency room visits at New York current vaccine has the strain of flu that’s flu have been reported in New York, over young children, pregnant women, people Hospital Queens have increased with been spreading, but should prevent peo- patients who think they might have the flu, ple from getting infected. Symptoms & treatment BY ALEXA ALTMAN people who regularly come in contact firstname.lastname@example.org with young children or individuals at high risk for the disease get vaccinated Not sure if that cough you’re battling against influenza. is the flu or just your average cold? • Individuals at high risk for the flu Here are a few symptoms that might include people who have a chronic indicate you’re fighting the flu. medical condition, in addition to the • Symptoms of the flu can include the very young and the very old. Also, sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, all health care workers should be and muscle aches, as well as a cough or vaccinated against influenza and other sore throat. These symptoms are often communicable disease to protect their similar to cold symptoms, but come on health and the health of their patients. more swiftly and are more pronounced. • Most health insurance plans cover • Although most people will usually flu vaccines. If you don’t have health recover from flu without complications, insurance, don’t panic. Individuals Photo Courtesy CDC/Judy Schmidt the virus poses a more serious risk and families without health insurance your health care provider immediately to disinfecting surfaces, such as desktops for individuals younger than age two, should check with their county health determine whether prescription antiviral and telephones, that are touched those over 50, pregnant women, and department to determine if local clinics drugs may be helpful. frequently. people with weakened immune systems will be held to provide free vaccinations. • Eating healthy foods, getting Should you get a flu shot? and convenient place to receive a flu lessen the effects of influenza, if the and the common cold.can also help protect against influenzaantiviral medications can sometimesenough rest and exercising regularlytreatment is started within 48 hours ofPharmacists are also able to give fluprescriptionwithTreatment•shots and pharmacies may be an easyvaccination.DepartmentHealthStateThe• or chronic medical conditions. recommends that everyone six months of age or older receive a flu vaccination. What to do if you’ve been not effective against influenza. become ill, it is important to limit your• If you do experience symptoms orthe onset of symptoms. Antibiotics are • Children under six months cannot exposed. • Although getting vaccinated is the opportunity to expose other people by get a flu vaccination. Since the flu virus • If you think you have been exposed to best way to prevent getting influenza, staying home while ill and practicing can be transmitted through coughing someone infected with the flu or a person you can also reduce your risk by good cough etiquette, such as coughing or sneezing, family members and experiencing flu symptoms, consult with washing your hands regularly and into your elbow instead of your hands.
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