Flu season is now upon us, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that this year's influenza outbreak has reached epidemic levels. This year's dominant flu strain, H3N2, tends to lead to a greater number of hospitalizations and fatalities than other strains, and this year's vaccine is not well prepared to fight its H3 subtype.
The CDC, however, recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get their yearly flu vaccine. There are documented benefits from flu vaccination, including reductions in illnesses, related doctors' visits and missed work or school. While some of the viruses spreading this season are different from what is in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes.
To safeguard against the potentially high incidence of Influenza-like illness (ILI) that may occur statewide and locally, Stony Brook University Hospital is encouraging visitors who may be experiencing ILI not to visit their loved ones in the hospital until they are healthy. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough and/or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and chills. As well, according to a New York State Department of Health regulation, all hospital and outpatient personnel, volunteers, students, doctors, and vendor representatives who are not vaccinated against influenza are required to wear a surgical or procedure mask during influenza season while working in areas where patients may be present. This is meant to protect both our patients and their visitors, as well as our healthcare professionals.
This website is designed to answer questions about Stony Brook University's proactive response to the influenza virus. Please use the links in the left menu to learn more about how to protect yourself, and what to do if you believe you have the virus.
Vaccination is the best protection against the flu. Stony Brook Medicine's HealthConnect® can assist you if you wish to get the vaccination by referring you to a provider in your area. Call HealthConnect® at (631) 444-4000 or visit your physician or local pharmacy.