Doctor: ‘Never know for sure exactly when flu is going to hit our community’

By Lisa L. Colangelo @lisalcolangelo

Updated October 25, 2019 7:38 PM. Newsday

Predicting the severity of this year’s flu season can be tricky. But experts say protecting yourself against the virus is simple.

“This is the perfect time for everyone to get their flu vaccine,” said Dr. Hank Bernstein, professor of pediatrics at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “We never know for sure exactly when flu is going to hit our community. It’s just a matter of time.”

Flu season generally starts in October. And while the number of flu cases in Nassau and Suffolk counties is in the single digits, it is expected to increase over the next three months, peaking in December, January and February.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the influenza virus sickened up to 42.9 million people and was the cause of up to 20.1 million medical visits, 647,000 hospitalizations and 61,200 deaths across the country during the 2018-19 season.

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