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Spike in cases of Influenza B hit local children hard

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Influenza Vaccine

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- Last flu season, out of 2,344 cases of the flu in Broome County, only 54 were reports of Influenza B. This flu season, however, there have been 467 reported cases of the same strain in Broome County.

Influenza B, doctors say, typically has a harder impact on vulnerable populations, like children.

"It tends to target the pediatric population more commonly, and so we've seen a lot of kids, and the majority of them have tested positive for Flu B," said Dr. Sean Holdridge, a pediatrician at Lourdes.

Symptoms can include high fever, coughing, nausea, vomiting, and if serious enough, the flu can be fatal.

"The flu will kill people. It's not like the common cold, it's not like everybody gets the flu and survives, because a lot of people don't," said Dr. Holdridge.

"The research says that kids who are vaccinated and get sick are much less likely to be hospitalized and have bad outcomes," Dr. Holdridge described.

Doctors say it's not too late to get the flu shot, as reported cases come in as late as March. If you're hesitant on taking your child for a flu shot, doctors suggest thinking again.

"The flu shot is a dead vaccine, it's not contagious, it can't get you sick, it can't give you the flu," said Dr. Holdridge.

If your child does end up with the flu, doctors suggest staying away from others to prevent the illness from spreading.

Additionally, doctors suggest washing your hands and avoiding touching your face to decrease your chances at exposure.

Besides getting a flu shot, doctors suggest washing your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. By doing this, you'll limit your chances of exposure to the illness.

Katie Jones

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