Keeping the flu bug away

Did your runny nose or itchy throat make it hard to get out of bed this morning? With influenza season in full swing, going back to bed may be just the medicine you need.

This morning, Dr. Stephen Hoag, a physician in family medicine with St. Joseph TMs Hospital appeared on Today in Central New York to talk about the flu.

Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a viral infection that has similar symptoms to the common cold, but the flu TMs symptoms are more severe. Symptoms can include fever, headache, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. The flu has a rapid onset; a person can start to exhibit symptoms as soon as 1 day after being infected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is widespread and increasing across New York. The flu is spread by droplets from people who are infected with the flu when they talk, cough or sneeze. This makes the possibility of contracting the virus very high.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu is to think prevention. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Young children, pregnant women, adults over 65 and anyone with a chronic medical condition are the most susceptible.

Other preventative measures like washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and staying home when you feel sick can also help you stay healthy.

Click here for more prevention tips, flu symptoms and to track flu activity.

Two weeks from now, Dr. Hoag will be back to answer some of your health questions. Email your questions to: and we will answer some of them live on Today in Central New York.