Flu 'widespread' in Pennsylvania — CDC

Desiree Steele
December 28, 2017

Wisconsin is one of 23 states reporting widespread influenza activity, along with nearby IL and IN, according to new findings from the Centers for Disease Control.

The number of states reporting widespread flu activity has almost doubled this week, just 1 indicator of an intensifying flu season.

It is advised that flu vaccines be administered before or around the start of flu season (usually considered to be the month of October but may start as early as September), but as long as the flu virus is in circulation vaccination continues to be offered throughout the season, into January and even later.

"By protecting ourselves with a flu shot, we're also helping to protect our family, friends, co-workers, and the rest of our community", said state health officer Karen McKeown in a news release.

There have been nearly three times the number of flu-related deaths and five times the number of cases over lat year, said the County Health and Human Services Agency.

Flu can be very contagious.

Doctors have been seeing more patients with fever, cough, runny noses and red eyes since holiday vacations began last week. Flu vaccine effectiveness, on average, tends to oscillate somewhere between 40% and 60%; but getting a flu shot is important not just to protect you, but also the people who are most vulnerable to catching the virus, such as older people, children, and people with compromised immune systems. About a quarter involved residents more than 65 years old, according to the state health department.

This national map, created by the CDC, tracks the flu across America. "And boom ... three days later, you get the flu". It takes about two weeks for the body to create the antibodies for the virus, so those getting the vaccine should plan to do so as early as possible.

There are ample supplies available throughout the state. It's a pretty simple fix; get your flu vaccine.

The cost of the vaccine is $10 for adults and children. Kentuckians are advised to call before arriving for a vaccination.

Dr. Stacey Milunich from Penn State Health says the flu season can peak anytime between December and February with some cases as late as May. The weekly report is now available online athttp://chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/Influenza.htm and is updated each Friday before noon. The county's health department does not provide flu vaccine.

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