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PA Dept. of Health urges flu precaution

As confirmed cases of the flu are increasing statewide, so far Warren County has been spared from the significant spread of the virus, according to statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Warren County reported fewer than five cases of any of the three predominant strains of the virus from the beginning of flu season on Sept. 29 to Nov. 30, according to statistics from the department.

With the number of reported cases growing statewide, officials are still advising people to get their flu shot.

On Monday, the department provided an update on the flu season as cases are now deemed “widespread” across the state. As of Nov. 30, there have been 2,667 laboratory-confirmed cases and five deaths statewide. Confirmed reports were received from 63 out of 67 counties.

As flu season intensifies, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine urged residents to get their flu vaccine if they have not done so already.

“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,” Levine said. “In the last few weeks, we have seen flu cases increase in all state regions. Especially with the upcoming holidays, where many people will be gathering together, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to get your flu vaccine so you can be protected throughout the flu season. There is no better measure to protect yourself than to get a flu vaccine.”

Levine noted the flu vaccine can often diminish the severity of symptoms a person might experience should they come down with the flu. Flu vaccines are available at your doctor’s office, pharmacy, local walk-in clinic or grocery store. 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 department recommends everyone age six months and older get the flu vaccine each season. It takes about two weeks for the antibodies from the vaccine to develop protection against infection.

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

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