State health department: Flu cases rise in both Nassau, Suffolk counties

Flu season is hitting Long Islanders harder than it did last year, according to the state Department of Health.
Recent numbers show 617 confirmed flu cases in Suffolk County, compared to 378 cases last year. In Nassau County, about 545 cases have been reported, as opposed to about 300 the year before.
State health officials issued a health advisory after confirmed flu cases jumped 34% in New York last week.
Doctors in the area say the number of cases comes as no surprise.
"We sort of predicted this because we saw the influenza rates from Australia where they recorded their worse season on record," says Dr. Andrew Patana, of NYU Langone Huntington Medical Group. "So we knew the virus coming up from the Southern Hemisphere was going to be a tough one this year."
Patients with the flu say it felt like they got hit by a truck. Even those who had the illness a few years ago remember how uncomfortable it was.
"It was the worst," says Cara Walker, of Huntington. "I was out for seven days, lost 7 pounds."
Doctors say flu season could still last a few more weeks to month. They say it's not too late to get a flu shot.