Increase in flu cases in New York reported this season

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Cover your mouth and wash your hands -- it's flu season and it's taking a toll on New Yorkers.

Dr. Jeffrey Lezar, vice chair of Department of Emergency Medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital, shared some tips with News 12 on how to protect from the virus.

"The first line of defense is hand-washing. Getting the flu vaccine is the second key component, then there is a dose of luck," said Lezar.

For those of us who question if the vaccine actually works, Lezar says, "It can decrease the number of flu cases by 50%, it can lessen the severity of the flu."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo took action against the virus by calling on the Health Department to make sure facilities across the state are prepared for what seems like a harsh season.

Hospitalization due to influenza spiked 34% from last week. "Traditionally, every winter, we start to see a rise in the number of flu cases," said Lezar.

This season to date, the state's flu tracker shows there have been more than 32,000 cases of the viral infection statewide.

The Bronx has seen more than 1,500 cases. Brooklyn has seen more than 1,400 cases.

"If you think you have the flu, the best thing you can do is No. 1, stay at home so you are not transmitting it, get rest, drink lots of fluids, and just take care of yourself," said Lezar.

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