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Another Busy Flu Season Anticipated In Dutchess County

Westchester residents are being advised to receive a flu vaccine this month.
Westchester residents are being advised to receive a flu vaccine this month. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr user Jay39

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. – With winter here, and flu season upon us, area doctors are offering advice for locals looking to avoid any bugs with the holidays approaching.

Although it is still early – just one patient has been treated for the flu at Putnam Hospital thus far – doctors are warning that this year’s flu season may be as intense as last year , when a record number of patients were treated.

As such, the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices ( ACIP ), recommends that everyone older than six months should receive a flu vaccination annually.

According to Putnam Hospital Center’s Infection Control Nurse Laura McDonald, those at extreme risk include diabetics, asthmatics, people who are morbidly obese, pregnant women, and adults older than 65.

“The best way to avoid contracting the flu is to take a flu vaccine every year,” she said. “Other things you can do is to surround yourself by people who are also vaccinated, frequently wash your hands, clean and disinfect the high touch surfaces in homes, avoid touching your eyes and covering up coughs or sneezes.”

Those suffering from the flu will endure symptoms that include high fevers, coughing, sore throats, stuffed or runny noses, body aches, headaches and extreme fatigue. Flu season traditionally extends into the spring. Healthcare practitioners advise those looking to get vaccinated to do so early.

“As it takes approximately two weeks to develop immunity from the vaccine, it is important to be vaccinated prior to flu becoming prevalent in the area that you live,” McDonald added. “Traditionally, flu becomes prevalent in the northeast in December, or even as late as January or February; so December, or earlier, is the perfect time to receive the vaccine.”

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