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Cecilia DowdFeb 8, 2018, 5:38 pmFeb 9, 2018, 5:15 pm

Taking supplements instead of getting a flu shot? Doctors say that’s not a good idea

Poll reveals Long Islanders aren’t doing everything they can to protect themselves against the illness


OCEANSIDE — Doctors are warning of the dangers of taking supplements in place of receiving a vaccination during flu season after a South Nassau Communities Hospital poll found that 39 percent of people who take supplements to prevent colds and the flu have not been vaccinated.

“The flu vaccine's not perfect, but at the same time, it is the best thing that we have. It will prevent flu in a number of patients. It will prevent severe flu in other patient, and it's a very safe vaccine. It's still strongly recommended even in February,” South Nassau Communities Hospital physician Dr. Aaron Glatt said. “If you haven't gotten vaccinated yet, that's something you should be doing.”

The South Nassau Truth in Medicine Poll, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, surveyed 600 Long Island and New York City residents. Nearly half of those 600 said they take supplements and a good number admitted to not telling their doctors they're taking them. This concerns Dr. Adhi Sharma, who says some supplements can render medications useless.

“Many of the supplements that are available can cause problems with prescription medications. It can cause regular doses to become an overdose or make prescription medications that were working, ineffective,” Dr. Sharma said.

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