While the flu outbreak is peaking nationwide, it's still sickening people in New York and elsewhere—and influenza vaccines are in short supply in Croton-on-Hudson and Ossining as elsewhere in Westchester County.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said activity was waning but the cold-weather virus could make a comeback, according to a report on ABC News.
That echoes comments made by Dr. Joseph Ponticiello, the Emergency Department director at Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle.
"Right now, we are looking at a flu epidemic," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday. Ponticiello said if people haven't already gotten flu shots, they should go ahead and get them. Flu season usually ends in early spring but can last until May, the CDC says.
"It's worth it," he said, "because you don't know what will happen in the next few months."
It won't be as easy as it was in September.
The CVS pharmacies in Croton, Ossining Tarrytown and the Walgreens pharmacies in Ossining and Tarrytown are out of vaccine and don't have information about if or when more could be arriving.
Open Door Medical Center in Ossining, as of Tuesday evening, still had flu shots available for locals.
"It's not too late to get the flu shot," said Dr. Daren Wu, chief medical officer at Open Door Medical Centers. "If you are sick, it's useful to at least see a doctor."
Wu said he encourages absolutely everybody ages six and up to get a flu shot annually, noting that even at 50 to 70 percent effective, the more people who get it, the fewer cases there will be.
"While individual locations may have used up their supply, the state assures us there is sufficient supply available from manufacturers," said Westchester County Health Department spokeswoman Caren Halbfinger. "We also have links on our website where residents can find additional sources to call—both medical offices and pharmacies—and sources of vaccine for doctors and pharmacists who need additional supplies."
Meanwhile, here are things one can do to help stave off getting the flu.
"The major thing is, if you are sick, stay home," Ponticiello said. Other things that can be done include wiping down the phones, remote controls and game consoles—anything people handle.
"A lot of hand washing is a good idea," Ponticiello said.
He recommended buying pocketbook-sized hand sanitizer and using it frequently.