Updated 01/04/2013 03:23 PM
Flu outbreak leaves thousands in New York sick
Feeling under the weather? Well, don't be quick to brush it off! The state Department of Health says thousands are coming down with the flu. Our Megan Cruz spoke with one doctor who says the outbreak has come on fast and strong.
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TROY, N.Y. -- "High fevers, shaking, chills, body aches from head to toe, some people even say their hair hurts because their body hurts so much."
Just some of the common complaints Dr. Colleen Kelley's been hearing from her patients. She's the ER Director at St. Mary's Hospital in Troy. A sign she says the flu's in town, and this year, it's packing a pretty potent punch.
"A much higher number than we saw last year are testing positive, especially for Influenza A," said Kelley.
A trend not just confined to the hospital. According to the New York State Department of Health, the flu is widespread across the state with cases being reported in every single county. And since October, 15,000 people have been diagnosed with it. That's three times more people than last year.
But not just the number of people diagnosed with the flu has shot up. The number of people needing to be hospitalized for it did, too. Just last week alone, 638 people were hospitalized.
That number up 50 percent from the week before.
"In fact, so many people were hospitalized during the holiday weekend that we were having trouble finding beds," said Kelley.
Signs you need more than just rest at home?
"Drenching sweats, people can't keep fluids down, lightheaded when they're standing, shortness of breath, or just have an overwhelming sense of illness," said Kelley. "Those are the folks we'd recommend come to the emergency department."
To stop this outbreak, Dr. Kelley says keep your hands clean, and...
"If you have not yet gotten your flu shot, go get it. It works, it's effective, and it does help," she said.
For those of you already sick, "Stay home from work, stay home from school," said Kelley. "Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol or cigarettes, get in as many calories as you can to maintain your strength, and get plenty of rest."