Yates County Public Health advises the public to take steps to prevent sickness during flu season. Yates County has peaked for lab confirmed reported influenza cases. Reports have nearly doubled in the last two weeks.  Influenza B has been the dominant strain of influenza reported this season, but the community is beginning to see more cases of Influenza A. Yates County has had a total of 233 confirmed cases of flu reported this flu season as of Feb. 24. “We expect the number of flu cases reported to continue to decline after the peak, but influenza is still circulating in the community, and we encourage you to take steps to prevent illness as we move into the spring season,” writes Kathy Swarthout, public health spokesperson.

During winter and spring, illnesses such as the common cold, flu, and GI illness (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) are everywhere. Germs that usually cause mild symptoms in a healthy person can cause serious illness in infants and older adults. Take steps to protect those who may be at increased risk of serious illness.

Here are some tips for staying healthy this flu season:

• Get a flu shot. Everyone 6 months of age or older should get a flu shot. Flu season can last into May or early June. It is not too late to get a flu shot for this season.

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and help young children to do the same.

• Wash hands before and after preparing food. Avoid preparing food for others when sick.

• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people touch often, such as toys, phones, and door knobs.

• Keep hands away from your face. Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands can spread germs from items you touch causing illness.

• Avoid close contact, such as kissing and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.  Bedding, towels, silverware, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.

• Stay home when sick.

• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Wash  your hands after blowing your nose.

For more information about cold and flu season, please contact Yates County Public Health at 315-536-5160 or visit their website at www.yatescountypublichealth.org.