Krista McNallyFeb 6, 2018, 1:35 pmFeb 6, 2018, 1:46 pm

Avoiding the flu: What you need to know

Doctor at Long Island Jewish Medical Center has advice to prevent the virus from spreading

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NEW HYDE PARK — Vice Chair of Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center Dr. Sanjey Gupta says the hospital has seen a large number of patients coming in with the flu.

Dr. Gupta says even some of their resources have gotten stressed because of employees catching the flu. In New York State it is estimated that this flu season will cost employers more than $15 billion in lost time from people calling out of work.

Although if one has the flu, it is recommended that one stay home and avoid crowds of people or confined spaces where one can spread it to other people. The number one tip to avoid getting the flu is washing one’s hands as frequently as possible.

"Soap and water for at least 20 seconds works really well, or if you have any alcohol-based antiseptic hand gels, those work really well. But you have to use them until that gel is completely evaporated," Dr. Gupta advised.

One should also cover their mouth when coughing and wait until a fever without medication has subsided for 24 hours before going out. Wearing a mask is also helpful to avoid spreading the flu.

The flu this season is so widespread in the tri-state area that some places have run out of flu medication, tests, and shots. There was a minor shortage at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

"We were running short a little bit for a day of some flu testing, but we were able to get our resources being in such a big health system as Northwel we were able to shift equipment and supplies very rapidly," Dr. Gupta said.

Dr. Gupta says one should go to the emergency room if one is experiencing extreme symptoms like shortness of breath, reoccurrence of the flu, or dehydration.

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