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Flu cases on the rise in CNY

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine every year.

For Serese Marotta of Baldwinsille, fighting the flu is personal.

In 2009, her otherwise healthy five-year-old son Joseph died from the flu during the h1n1 pandemic.

"Everyday I say to myself, this is life or death. If I can just reach one person today and get that one person to make an informed decision about flu vaccination then hopefully I've saved a life," Marotta said.

Now she works with Families Fighting Flu, a national organization run largely by those who have lost a loved one to the flu.

"We really just don't want this to happen to anyone else and that's what motivates us everyday," she said.

Their mission is educating people to take proactive steps to avoid the virus.

"We want people to know that the flu is not just a bad cold. The flu is a serious disease. It's a vaccine preventable disease. The best thing that everyone can do to not only protect themselves, but their loved ones and communities is by getting an annual flu vaccine," she said.

Onondaga County has among the highest number of reported cases in the state so far this year, and Dr. Richard Lockwood with Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield says the season of spreading is just beginning.

"We're off to an early start. It may mean it's bad. It may mean it's an early start and it'll calm down, but it's impossible to predict," Dr. Lockwood said.

And for those who've already gotten sick...

"You should stay at home, not go to the work place and spread it to other people because that's the most common way. Stay away from your family members especially your older or very young family members," he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine every year.

"It may not be as effective as we would like, but it is still critically important to get your flu shot," he said.

Even with differing levels of effectiveness, some protection is always better than none.

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