With flu season in full swing, the Cortland County Health Department has reported 21 confirmed cases in the county from early October to date.
However, not everybody with flu symptoms is diagnosed, nor do they go to the doctors to get tested, said county Deputy Public Health Director Mary Ann Haley.
Throughout the state there have been four deaths from flu reported, yet none from Cortland County, Haley said.
“It is not too late to get vaccinated,” she said.
The flu vaccine is still available in the county and takes only between 10 and 14 days to take affect, Haley said.
Everyone older than 6 months should get vaccinated against the flu every year and because there is no live strain used in making the vaccine, people cannot get the flu from the shot, she said.
Early symptoms of the flu include aches, fevers and coughing, Haley said. However, these symptoms could also just be a normal cold. She described having the flu like being hit with a sledgehammer. “If you have the flu, you know it,” Haley said.
To avoid spreading the flu, Haley had a few tips:
* Practice good handwashing and sneeze and cough into either a tissue or your arm.
* Stay home if you have the flu and isolate yourself, even from family.
If someone gets the flu, the only thing to do is to let it run its course. That could take about a week, Haley said.
Stephanie Fritz, the director of the SUNY Cortland Child Care Center, said (knock on wood) the center has not seen the flu among the children yet this year. Early signs of the flu in children include coughing, sneezing, running nose, high fever, sore throat and tiredness.
If children get the flu the center asks parents to keep them home until there is no fever 24 hours after any medicine is discontinued, Fritz said.
This year there are four different strains being watched. The strains fall into two varieties: An A and B variety.
The A variety is the flu with all symptoms except the gastrointestinal problems, like diarrhea. The B variety is all the symptoms, including the gastrointestinal problems.