Local experts on infectious diseases Thursday urged parents to get their children and themselves vaccinated now as the flu turned into an epidemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that 18 children nationally have died of flu so far this year, with cases reported in nearly every state.
"We have seen a significant rise in the number of people coming into the emergency room this past week," confirmed Dr. Steven Walerstein, executive vice president for medical affairs at Nassau University Medical Center and medical director for the NuHealth System.
Even though the flu season has already begun, Dr. Walerstein says he strongly recommends people get vaccinated.
"...especially the elderly, children and people with diabetes, issues with their heart or lung complications."
At the North Shore-LIJ Hospital system, including Huntington Hospital, said Thursday that hospital visits were up 20-30 percent because of the disease.
Dr. Sunil K. Sood said the flu season is considerably worse this year than it has been in several years. “First, it started very early this year, and second, the number of cases has dramatically increased nationwide,” he said. “Third, of the three strains, one, H-3, is associated with a higher death rate.”
This year’s flu vaccine protects against three strains, H-1 and H-3, and a third, Type B. “H-3 gives you a much worse disease,” he said.
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If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some places in East Meadow that offer the vaccine (besides your own doctor, of course):
- Walgreens Pharmacies
- CVS Pharmacy
- Rite Aid
- Wal Mart Supercenter
"Due to high demand caused by the early outbreak of influenza, some of our locations may experience intermittent, temporary shortages of flu vaccine, but we still have vaccine in stock and we resupply our pharmacies and clinics as quickly as possible," Mike DeAngelis, public relations director for the CVS pharmacy chain, told Patch.
- The Importance of Getting Your Flu Shot
- CDC Says the Season Is Here: Where to Get Flu Shots in East Meadow