© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

ACHOO! The flu bug has come early this season

National Public Radio

Not feeling well? Maybe with a fever and a tummy that doesn't feel good? You may have joined this year's early flu season.

Did you have your flu shot? Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says it may or may not be completely effective against the flu virus variants circulating this year, but it is a lot better than no protection.

The viruses attacked by the vaccine are chosen far before the flu season because it takes a while to grow the necessary material in the millions of eggs needed. Burstein says everyone will have to wait to see how well this year's shot battles the bug.
"Much of the influenza that they recognize now that is circulating is a fairly good match with the strains in the vaccine," she says. "However, that can change at any time. We know that the flu virus is very smart and it can mutate pretty quickly and so we'll have to see when we start to see more influenza."

The Centers for Disease Controlare showing sharp increases in the number of positive tests for the virus. Burstein says the big concern isn't those who will get the flu and be miserable for a few days.

"But there are other people that can catch the same infection and actually become very sick because their immune system doesn't work properly or they have another health condition that puts them at risk of becoming very ill with viruses bacterial that in an otherwise healthy person would just be a minor illness," she says.

Besides the vaccination, Burstein says there are things you can do to protect yourself.

"You can wash your hands," Burstein says. "You can stay away from people that are sick and then help protect others if you are sick by staying away from them. If you're sick, stay home for a couple of days, especially if you are coughing and sneezing or have diarrhea or vomiting."

Burstein says, if you sneeze, do it into your arm rather than your hand, which might touch something else.
If you visit the doctor during the flu season, ask whether all of the people in the office have been vaccinated.

Credit New York State Department of Health

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
Related Content