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We may be out of winter, but flu season still a possibility

By NICOLE HART

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Faxton-St Luke's Healthcare is restricting visitors because two patients have been diagnosed with Influenza "A".

The precautions show just how serious the flu virus is.

Those precautions will be in place for up to two weeks; limiting visitors to immediate family and no one under the age of 16 is permitted. Health officials are warning people not to take the flu virus too lightly.

"Rather than think of it as a late flu season, I think it's more a mild flu season." said, Ken Fanelli of the Oneida County Health Department.

"Usually the H1N1 is more classic in the fall and the classic seasonal is usually late winter/early spring, which would be this time of year," said Dr. Marissa Kalil. "And between February and April are the most common months."

Health officials say, recently there have been two cases of the influenza virus reported to the health department in our area. There have been five other cases reported this year. So even though flu season is underway, "the fact remains that it's not too late to get the flu and it's not too late to get the flu vaccine." said Fanelli.

And Dr. Kalil explained, "there's two types of flu that we're seeing in the area seasonally and the vaccine covers both types of the common strains of the flu that we're seeing."

What should you look out for and what can you do to stay healthy?

"classic symptoms of the flu include coughing; usually it's a non-productive cough, dry cough... body aches, fevers, headaches..." said Dr. Kalil. She went on to say "...frequent hand washing, and covering your cough is the best method. We recommend that people cough into their sleeve and not into their hands."

If you haven't gotten vaccinated yet, it's not too late. The health department holds a clinic every Monday and Wednesday in Utica and every Tuesday in Rome from 1-3:30 p.m. The health department recommends anyone, over six months of age, to get vaccinated.

For more information, you can visit the Oneida County Health Department's Website.

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