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. Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre has seen a significant increase in patients already this year.
"We are able to handle this very efficiently through our main Emergency Department and our Express Care areas," said Dr. Aaron E. Glatt,
Executive Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer at Mercy Medical Center.
At South Nassau Communities Hospital on the Rockville Centre/Oceanside border, officals say they have seen an increase in flu cases admitted to the emergency room. However, they added that the amount is typical for this time of year.
Peggy O'Donnell, a family nurse practioner and community health specialist at South Nassau addressed some of the most misconceptions about the vaccine.
- The flu vaccine will make you sick.
"The flu vaccine cannot make you sick," says O'Donnell, who works with Dr. Neil Soskel in Lynbrook. "It's a dead virus. "They should also not misinterpret a regular cold with the flu."
- Healthy people don't need to flu vaccine
"Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu," she continued. "Even more importantly, you can pass it along before you're sick to someone else who is unhealthy."
For parents who are weary about getting their children vaccinated, O'Donnell stresses that the flu can be insidious and very dangers with children. The shot is safe, it's the virus that is dangerous."
Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Sign-up here.
If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some places in Malverne, West Hemsptead and Lynbrook that offer the vaccine (besides your own doctor, of course):
- West Hempstead Pharmacy (490 Hempstead Ave., West Hempstead)
- CVS Pharmacy (814 Hempstead Ave., West Hempstead)
- CVS Pharmacy (621 Hempstead Tpke., West Hempstead)
- Rite Aid (Hempstead Tpke., West Hempstead)
- CVS Pharmacy (633 Merrick Road, Lynbrook)
"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.
Regional Editor Henry Powderly and Associate Regional Editor Pam Robinson contributed to this report.
- The Importance of Getting Your Flu Shot
This story was last updated at 5:26 p.m. on Jan. 11.