Confirmed cases of the flu in New York State have spiked recently, causing many to scramble this weekend for a cure or to try to prevent their getting the common virus. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Since Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a public health emergency following a 55-percent increase in confirmed New York flu cases over the last week, urgent care facilities like City MD are seeing an uptick in patients.
"We're definitely seeing a lot of flu. It's definitely been a very early peak to the flu season this year," said Dr. Craig Zebuda of City MD.
"I heard that it's been really bad. It's been widespread over the entire country and it's lasting a lot longer that it normally has in the past," said a New Yorker.
Many patients want a flu shot, but they can be hard to come by.
A statement from the corporate office of CVS pharmacy says that due to high demand, some of its locations may experience intermittent, temporary shortages of the vaccine.
Many other pharmacies are experiencing the same, so some New Yorkers are being extra careful.
"You pretty much just have to stay inside, try to stay warm when it gets really cold. Eat as much healthy things as you can," said a New Yorker.
"I'm trying not to shake everybody's hand. I hope they don't get insulted," said another.
Doctors say New Yorkers who do have access to a flu shot should get one, but warn that the vaccine is not a cure-all. Getting the shot doesn't necessarily mean that New Yorkers will not get sick.
"There are multiple strains of the flu. The flu vaccination covers three different strains. It's about 64 to 68 percent effective," Zebuda said. "So even if you had the vaccination it doesn't mean you're going to prevented from from getting the flu, but it does give you pretty good coverage and pretty good protection."
In addition, it can take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to be fully effective.
Zebuda also pointed out that the vaccine will not help fight the flu if you already have it. In that case, early detection and taking anti-viral medications are your best bet.