Now's the time to brush up on your influenza knowledge.
The NY Daily News is reporting that this flu season has not only been one for the worst in recent years in New York, but that the virus is "widespread in all but three states."
While California, Mississippi and Hawaii seem to have lucked out, New York, including the five boroughs, has not come out unscathed.
With the multitude of cases rising in New York State, Gov. Cuomo has "declared a statewide public health emergency," according to another NY Daily News report.
Cuomo stated that "influenza activity in New York State is widespread," thus making the decision to now allow pharmicists to administer the much sought after vaccine to those six months to 18 years of age.
This change will be in effect for 30 days and opens up the opportunity for those under the age of 18 to be vaccinated in their local pharmacies, which was not previously permitted.
Statistical numbers Cuomo provided included the increase in cases of influenza by 14,724 people this flu season. Last season, New York State had a reported 4,404 cases of the flu, while we are currently at 19,128 for this season alone.
The best course of action for your kids, and family, is to not only know ways to prevent attracting the virus, but also knowing the symptoms for which to look.
Along with getting vaccinated, some preventative measures - as outlined by the Red Cross - include washing hands frequently, minimizing contacted with those who are sick and limiting the amount of times you touch your eyes and mouth.
You may find it difficult to get the vaccine as more and more doctors offices are running out.
The New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, however, has a list of offices and pharmacies, by borough, that can provide you with the vaccine.
Here are the providers in Queens. Calling in advance of making the trip is advisable.