The Wolf Administration is encouraging Pennsylvanians to get a flu shot if they haven’t already, as the number of influenza cases escalated statewide heading into 2019. Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and the Department of Health joined with Penn State Health nurses Tuesday to distribute free flu shots at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
“The flu is serious and can be deadly, which is why it’s important for everyone to take the proper precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones and anyone they meet,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “January and February tend to be the most intense months of the flu season when it comes to illnesses, and there’s no better measure to protect yourself than to get a flu shot.”
The number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases statewide on Dec. 29 reached 6,435, and more than 4,000 of those occurred during the second half of December. Eight people have died from flu-related causes.
“It may be January, but it’s not too late to get a flu shot,” Dr. Levine said. “The best strategy to protect yourself is combining the flu shot with covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, frequently washing your hands, and disinfecting surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops.”
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.
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 season. It takes about two weeks for the antibodies from the vaccine to develop protection against infection.