Never too late to get flu shot

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
January 15, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
We're smack in the middle of the flu season and the city says the number of cases have started to rise. If you've gotten it or know someone who has, you know it can actually be a very serious illness. Here are some recommendations now from Dr. Jay Adlersberg.

We get the flu by picking up a virus in the air. It can come from someone around us or it could come from someone straight out of the air into our lungs. The issue today, you still have time to get protection and for many age groups this could be life saving.

We're telling on Mary Ellen Liona today.

Mary Ellen is a 67-years-old New Yorker and she told Eyewitness News she has not had a flu shot this season.

"I know I should," said Mary Ellen. "At the Senior Centers and at my union, they offer free flu shots but I haven't turned around to get it, yet."

"Flu is here, but it is not too late to get a flu shot. Flu can be serious," said Health Commissioner for NYC, Dr. Thomas Fr. Frieden. "It can kill you."

The health department says they've seen a 19 percent increase in flu related visits to the emergency room from the beginning of November.

Dr. Antonio Dajer at New York Downtown Hospital's emergency room says they are seeing people with various flu related problems.

"Across all ages, more in older folks, people 55 - 60 as well as gastrointestinal as lot of vomiting, diarrhea as well, said Dr. Antonio Dajer at New York Downtown Hospital.

While no one is immune from getting the flu this season, older folks and younger ones are particularly susceptible.

"Everybody should get their flu shot. It's a very large benefit," said Dr. Antonio Dajer. "You don't want to get influenza."

Besides children and all people over 50, people in close contact with the young and the elderly should also get their shots so should health care workers and anyone with a chronic illness.

"Get one, call your doctor or call 311 if you haven't got a doctor," said Dr. Thomas Fr. Frieden. "Flu can be deadly." We don't know yet how bad the season will be. But going through it with a flu shot is a much healthier risk.

As for Mary Ellen?

"I'll think about it," said Mary Ellen. "I promise to think about it because I know it is very important."

Mary Ellen told needles are the reason she hasn't gotten a shot. A short tolerance for the needle prick is a thousand times better than a long illness or even death from the flu.

And contrary to a wrong belief, the flu shot will not give you the flu! So get one if you haven't yet.

If you'd like more information on the clinic, you can call 311 or visit the New York City web site at: