The flu season got an early start here in Central New York. And the number of cases keeps rising.
Governor Cuomo has issued a health emergency for our state, which allows pharmacists to give the flu vaccine to minors.
The flu is costing employers billions of dollars in direct costs for hospitalization and outpatient visits to the doctor.
And despite the flu outbreak, sick workers say they cannot afford to miss a day at the office.
"We know it's not always practical for everyone to stay home. Some just don't have the sick time or they just can't afford to stay home," said Ken Fanelli of the Oneida Co. Health Dept.
Although this may have negative consequences for the workplace, Fanelli of the OCHD wants to remind people to be aware of office hygiene.
"If they have to go into the workplace, it's important for the co-workers to be conscious of washing their hands. You cannot wash your hands enough this time of year," said Fanelli.
And if you can't, hand sanitizer can be just as effective.
Other reminders, Fanelli says to always sneeze or cough into the bend of your arm, never into your hands.
People can spread the sickness a day before the on-set of flu symptoms and four or five days after symptoms have passed.
But, Fanelli says with the strain of the flu this season, people probably will be calling out sick.
"For many people, the question of whether or not they should go to work is really answered by the illness itself. I hear people are down and out for a number of days. I don't think they will be capable of going to work," said Fanelli.