Health experts: Flu cases continue to risePosted: Updated:
United Way's 24-hour 211 hotline has taken on an unexpected role in battling the flu this year.
Alana Sweeney, the nonprofit's CEO, says her trained operators are helping residents get discounts on medications and connecting them with agencies that can help them get back on their feet.
"If people need help, we want them to call us," she says.
This flu season is taking a heavy toll across the country and the state. New York health officials say the number of confirmed cases this year is rising at a record pace.
Doctors say many people are falling ill because the type of flu prevalent today hasn't been seen in years.
"There's a lot of change in the virus," says Dr. Jeffrey Rabrich of Nyack Hospital. "What they call a gentle shift, it becomes more difficult to treat people who have more severe symptoms from that strain."
Doctors are also reminding people that it's not too late to get a flu shot, although as News 12 has reported, supplies are growing scarce.
Dr. Richard Evans, the head of surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital, says people should also wash their hands frequently to help reduce the risk of infection.