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      Flu cases are on the rise

      The flu has hit us as a country very hard this season. There have been two confirmed deaths in New York State as a result of this year's flu. Boston has it even harder than we do here in Central New York. Local hospitals are taking every precaution that they can to prevent the spreading of the H3N4 strain of the flu. Upstate University Hospital puts up signs throughout the building reminding people some of the basics procedures to follow during flu season.

      There are three solid ways to avoid getting the flu. Firstly, you need to wash your hands several times throughout the day. Secondly, you can wear a mask around your home or office to decrease the spread of germs. This may sound a little extreme, but the Director of Urgent Care for Crouse Hospital, Richard Steinmann told me that much of China does this as part of their daily routine wearing them at home, work and during their commute. Lastly, the easiest way to avoid the flu is to get a shot. Steinmann wanted to stress that it is not physically possible for you to get the flu, from the flu shot. These vaccines are available until early spring, which is the end of the flu season.

      Crouse has seen a dramatic increase in their inpatient confirmed cases this season. Last year they had fifteen such cases and this year they already have ninety-four. Even going back to the H1N1 scare, there were only half this amount.

      Dr. K. Bruce Simmons is the Upstate Student Health Director, he told CNYCentral's Alex Resila, "(H3N4) is a strain that we've seen before and in general this is a strain that causes more severe illness."

      For anyone who is confused about the difference between the flu and a common cold, Steinmann said, "the flu tends to come on all of the sudden and all at once with a fever and a bad headache and horrible muscle aches where you feel like you've been beaten with a club." A cold will only make you feel under the weather for a day or two with some sniffles.