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02/07/2020

Health Department Reminds Pennsylvanians It Is Not Too Late to Get a Flu Vaccine

Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today reminded Pennsylvanians that it is not too late to get a flu vaccine, and it is essential to take steps to prevent the spread of illness, such as frequently washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick.

“We are continuing to see high flu numbers across the state, as well as a number of other serious illnesses,” Dr. Levine said. “In order to prevent disease, and the spread of disease in Pennsylvania, we want everyone to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones. The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get your flu shot.”

The Department of Health has reported nearly 60,000 flu cases as of February 1, 2020, with 40 deaths. The number of flu cases has continued to increase over the past several weeks.

Receiving the flu vaccine is the best way to protect not only yourself, but anyone you may come into contact with this flu season. You can obtain your flu vaccine at your doctor’s office, pharmacy, local walk-in clinic or grocery store.

The flu vaccine can often diminish the severity of symptoms a person might experience should they come down with the flu. In addition to the flu shot, the flu nasal spray is also available this year, and both are recommended to protect yourself against the flu.

Influenza is a contagious disease, caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the nose, throat and lungs and may include the following symptoms:

  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Tiredness;
  • Dry cough;
  • Sore throat;
  • Nasal congestion; and
  • Body aches.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Everyone 6 months 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.

In addition to getting vaccinated, Pennsylvanians are encouraged to practice healthy habits like covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, frequently washing your hands during flu season and remembering to disinfect commonly touched objects, such as door knobs, light switches, countertops, cell phones and computers.

If you do become sick with the flu, it is important to stay home and rest. If you are at risk for developing serious complications from the flu, or feel extremely ill, you should see a medical professional immediately.

Additional information on how to stay healthy and prevent the flu can be found on the Department of Health’s website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:    Brittany Lauffer, Health, 717-787-1783 or ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

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