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Spring is near, but flu season marches on

Health officials are reminding people that flu season is far from over.

Dr. Lisa Harris with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Rochester says people assume the flu is a winter virus, but the flu season can persist all the way until May.

She says flu season typically peaks around February, but people can contract the disease any time of the year.

The Centers for Disease Control is reporting a 28 percent decrease in flu reports compared to last year, and Harris says the drop may be attributable to people staying home if they are sick, and more people getting the vaccine.

But there is still plenty of flu season left. 

“So even though we're seeing a downtick in reported flu cases and hospitalizations, it's still higher than the previous two years. So compared to last year, it is lower, but compared to the two years prior to that, it's still running high," she said.

Excellus reports just one in three adults gets the flu shot, leaving many people vulnerable to being infected. And there were 80,000 deaths nationwide from influenza last year, the most in 40 years.

Harris says even if it’s late in flu season, it's not too late to get the vaccine.

She adds if you feel ill, avoid public places and stay home, cover your cough with your sleeve, and wash your hands frequently.