Fight the Flu

It is still a good time to get your flu shot. Speaking in Montauk on Monday at a business conference at Gurney’s Resort, Dr. Thomas McGinn, who oversees physician operations for the giant hospital network Northwell Health, said that influenza cases on Long Island were spiking and that the vaccine offers a needed degree of protection. Although it has been reported that this year’s flu shot is only partially effective, Dr. McGinn said some defense is better than none.

Anecdotally, we have heard that local ambulance crews are seeing an increase in patients with flu symptoms, especially among vulnerable older residents. Practitioners say this year’s strain is especially virulent, knocking down those who are affected for a long and debilitating period. Nationwide, the number of people seeing a health-care provider with flu-like symptoms this year has been the highest since 2003-4. As of last week, the rate of infection was considered widespread in 32 states, including New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to getting a last-minute flu shot, medical professionals recommend a number of steps to decrease the chances of exposure. They are frequent hand washing with warm water and soap and not sharing food, drink, or eating utensils with others. But, get that flu shot if you have not done so already.