CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. – To support the New York State Department of Health’s flu awareness and prevention initiatives, Thompson Health is informing the community of increased influenza activity and encouraging the public to take precautions against this sometimes-fatal illness. After a slow start to the flu season, activity has increased greatly across the state. During the week ending Feb. 10, 2007, laboratory-positive cases of influenza were reported in 41 counties and in school districts in several counties. Thompson Health, the City of Canandaigua and its schools have partnered on flu prevention through a campaign called “Keep Canandaigua Healthy: One Handwash at a Time.” There are many ways community members can protect themselves from the flu: · It is not too late to get an influenza vaccination. Contact your health care provider to get a flu shot if you have not already done so. · Follow common-sense hygiene protocols: Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating; cover your cough by using a tissue or the crook of your elbow rather than your hands to prevent the spread of germs from you to others; do not put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth because you can contract germs from outside sources that way. · Be aware of the possible signs and symptoms of the flu (fever, headache, extreme tiredness, muscle aches, cough and sore throat) but remember that it is difficult to diagnose it without a visit to your health care professional. If you do have the flu, there are antiviral medications that may be prescribed to lessen the severity of the illness. · Remember that a visit to the doctor is advised for those who are especially at risk if they contract the flu: those who are 65 and older; those with chronic medical conditions; pregnant women; and young children.