Doctors warn of possibly severe flu season

Posted: Updated:
EAST MEADOW -

Health officials predict this year's flu season could be severe.

Diane Manca, who came down with a serious case a few years ago, says now she gets a vaccine regularly.

"When you have the flu, you never want to get it again," she says.

Dr. John Zaso, an East Meadow pediatrician, says severe cases can be dangerous no matter how healthy you are.

"It can be deadly," he says. "This year we're seeing earlier activity and more virulent activity. It's more violent, so to speak."

Doctors say it's not too late to get a vaccine, even though the cold weather is already moving in. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

"Everybody 6 months and up, whether or not you have medical conditions, healthy or not, adult, child, pregnant women, should all be vaccinated," Dr. Zaso says. "That's the best way to help prevent the spread of the disease."

That said, it's unclear how effective this year's vaccine will actually be. Reports from Australia say the H3N2 match only worked about 10 percent of the time.

And some Long Islanders like Pat Beiger say they avoid getting the flu shot for fear of negative side effects.

"I had a bad experience, and I was sick for months," Beiger says.

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