ALBANY — The state Department of Health on Thursday reported its first flu-related pediatric death of the season. Officials are urging anyone 6 months or older to be vaccinated.
The case, which occurred downstate, was confirmed by Wadsworth Center in Albany.
“Influenza is a significant threat to public health, and we are strongly encouraging anyone who has not already gotten the flu vaccine to get one immediately,” said Howard Zucker, state Department of Health commissioner, in a news release. “Getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself, it also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.”
Cases of the flu in New York have risen by 37 percent, and new cases have been reported in 61 of the state's 62 counties, according to the release.
Eight pediatric deaths and 12,912 flu-related hospitalizations were reported in New York during last year's flu season. There have been 25 pediatric deaths in the state over the past four years.
Here's some tips offered by the state on hygiene:
- Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself from germs and avoid spreading them to others.
- Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.