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Pa. Health Dept. urges flu vaccine

The Pennsylvania Health Department Encourages Pennsylvania residents to receive a flu vaccine and practice healthy habits as flu season begins.

Flu season officially begins this month and runs until May.

Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of Health, reminded residents that it is that time of year again to get their flu shot at an event at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Harrisburg. Dr. Levine encourages receiving your flu shot before the end of October.

Dr. Levine reminded residents that the flu shot often diminishes the severity of symptoms a person might experience should they come down with the flu. Last flu season had reported more than 122,000 flu cases in the state of Pennsylvania alone, causing 258 deaths.

“The flu is serious and can be deadly, which is why it is so important for everyone to take the proper precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones and anyone they meet,” said Dr. Levine.

The best way known to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every year. Flu shots can be administered at your doctor’s office, a pharmacy, a local walk-in clinic or a grocery store. A flu nasal spray is also available this year. Both are a recommended measure to protect yourself against the flu.

Everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated for the flu. It takes approximately two weeks for the antibodies from the vaccine to develop protection against infection.

“It is imperative that you get your flu vaccine now so you can be protected throughout the flu season,” said Dr. Levine. “There is no better measure to protect yourself than to get a flu vaccine.”

In addition to vaccination, Dr. Levine encourages Pennsylvanians to practice healthy habits. These include 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 doorknobs, light switches, countertops, cell phones and computers.

Influenza is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus. The virus attacks the nose, throat, and lungs and may include the following symptoms: fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.

If you do contract the flu, it is important to stay home and rest. If you are at risk for developing complications with the flu or feel extremely ill, it is recommended to seek professional medical attention immediately.

For additional information on how to stay healthy and prevent the flu, visit the Department of Health’s website, https://www.health.pa.gov, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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