With colder weather forcing residents to spend more time indoors, the Department of Health is reminding Pennsylvanians that there is still time to get a flu shot to protect yourself, your family and loved ones from the flu.
“If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, don’t hesitate; there’s still time,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “The flu vaccine is the best precaution you can take, and it not only helps protect you, but also your family members, neighbors, coworkers and anyone you come in contact with. We’re seeing increasing numbers of flu cases across the commonwealth, so don’t wait to get your shot.”
The flu has been detected in all 67 counties, and the number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases statewide on Jan. 26 reached close to 20,000. Twenty-five flu-related deaths have been reported, including one pediatric death.
“Nothing about the flu is routine,” Levine said. “The symptoms can be fatal, but residents can take a number of steps to protect themselves. Wash your hands frequently, disinfect surfaces such as countertops, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. And the very best thing – get a flu shot.”
Dr. Levine noted the flu shot can often diminish the severity of symptoms a person might experience should they come down with the flu. Flu shots are available at your doctor’s office, pharmacy, local walk-in clinic or grocery store.
Flu, or influenza, is a contagious disease, caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the nose, throat and lungs and may include the following symptoms:
- Dry cough;
- Sore throat;
- Nasal congestion; and
- Body aches.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine each year. It takes about two weeks for the antibodies from the vaccine to develop protection against infection.