“The best way to avoid getting the flu is to be vaccinated by the end of October,” shared Deborah Maile, RN, Director of Infection Prevention at Southampton Hospital.
The contagious respiratory illness can cause mild to serve symptoms in the nose, throat and lungs, depending on a variety of factors – like the strains of flu that are circulating, the demand and readiness of vaccines, the number of people who receive a vaccination and the effectiveness of the vaccine, in regards to matching the vaccine to the flu viruses. The first cases typically begin to appear in the fall and flu season can run all the way through May, which is why it is recommended that those who plan on getting a flu shot do so at the end of October so that it lasts the entire season.
On Monday, October 24th, Southampton Hospital is helping the East End community prepare for flu season by hosting a Free Adult Influenza Clinic at Parrish Memorial Hall (235 Herrick Road, Southampton). The event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., is open to those 18-years-old or older. For more information, visit www.southamptonhospital.org.
“Infection prevention is a priority at Southampton Hospital and we hope that we’ll have a good turnout for our free annual flu clinic on October 24th,” she added.
The Stony Brook Medicine Hospital Emergency Management Team and Stony Brook University Hospital Employee Health are also being proactive when it comes to early prevention.
“This year’s flu season is just beginning — New York has seen only a few reported cases so far — which means it’s the ideal time to get vaccinated,” noted Saul Hymes, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.
Last week, nearly 1,700 employees and students received a vaccinated during a 12-hour event. The Stony Brook University Hospital Employee Health program is also offering free flu shots to all employees and students with hospital access Monday, October 17th through Wednesday, October 19th, from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.stonybrookmedicine.edu.
“Vaccination is one of the best ways to add protection against many diseases, including influenza,” explained Susan Donelan, MD, Medical Director, Healthcare Epidemiology Department, Stony Brook University Hospital. “Even if you do get the flu, if you have been vaccinated, it may make the actual disease milder and better tolerated.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. “Getting vaccinated helps to protect against the flu but also helps to protect those who cannot be vaccinated,” added Dr. Hymes. “All parents should be vaccinated to help protect their children. The flu vaccine is effective and safe, and it is not too late to get it!”