December 30, 2017: Influenza is now Widespread in Tompkins County

December 30, 2017

Influenza is now widespread in Tompkins County. This year’s  predominant strain, Influenza A (H3N2), is particularly virulent and can make people very sick, especially those who are under 5 years old, over 65, or have chronic medical conditions.  You may have heard that this year’s flu vaccine is not that effective. However, it is still approximately 32% effective against H3N2 and recommended. It is not too late to get it. If you think you have influenza, the antiviral medications can be effective in decreasing the severity and length of your illness as well as how contagious you are.  If you are in a higher risk category it is recommended that you seek medical care and get a prescription of the anti-flu medications.  They are most effective when taken within 48 hours of illness, but can still benefit patients if taken even later.

The following is a list of all the health and age factors that are known to increase a person’s risk of getting serious complications from the flu:
  • Asthma
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
  • People who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher
  • People younger than 19 years of age on long-term aspirin therapy
  • People with a weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)

Other people at high risk from the flu:

  • Adults 65 years and older
  • Children younger than 5 years old, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities