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Sunday, April 20, 2014
Prevention is key to beating the flu
Get vaccinated by doctors or pharmacists
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Getting vaccinated for the flu and avoiding exposure to people with the illness are the best ways to avoid getting it, medical experts say.

Woodmere resident Alli Berman, who has had the flu for more than a week, received the flu vaccination from her physician in mid-November and thought she would avoid the flu epidemic until she attended a family function earlier this month.

“I thought I dodged a bullet,” she said. “But three people were very ill and showed up because they couldn’t miss the event but I got sick the next day and have been on antibiotics ever since.”

Berman was bed ridden for two days and has been taking vitamin C, eating chicken soup and adding garlic, which is a natural food that helps throat pain, into her diet wherever she can. “I’ve been thrown for a loop and I feel like there is no end in sight,” she said. “I have things I have to do and I cannot afford to be sick.”

Cedarhurst-based Dr. Marc Sicklick said he has been seeing more patients suffering from the flu, including those who have complications due to asthma. “Anyone who has any underlying respiratory or cardiac problems, any immune issues or any other risk factor for increased complications should immediately contact their primary care physician,” he said. “The biggest mistake is saying that ‘it’s just the flu.’ It’s better to be seen for no reason than not to be seen an regret it afterwards.”

Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue, according to Dr. Michael Stuart, chief medical officer of USA Hockey. “People with the flu are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least three days after they recover,” he said in a statement. “But some people are contagious for even longer.”

Dr. Rajiv Prasad, chairman of Emergency Medicine at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, said the hospital has only seen a slight increase in overall volume of patients with the flu. “It’s not as much as the rest of the city,” he said.

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