Health workers: It's not too late to get a flu shot

Katherine Ranzenberger

Even though it’s late in the flu season, it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Many area pharmacies are still offering flu shots, including Rite Aid on E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township, Monday Feb. 16, 2016. John A. Pavoncello photo

“As long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it’s not too late to get vaccinated,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy in a press release. “If you become sick with the flu at any time, there is always a chance for health complications. Getting vaccinated against the flu is the surest way to protect you and your loved ones against this potentially serious illness.”

So far this season, the state Department of Health has confirmed 1,644 cases of the flu, according to the DOH website. York County has confirmed 18 cases of the flu.

Dr. Linda Taylor said she hasn’t seen as many cases of the flu this year at Patient First Urgent Care.

“We see sporadic cases here and there, but we have not seen as many as last year,” she said. “They adjusted the vaccine for this year, and it’s definitely helped a lot. It seems like they finally got the vaccine right.”

Flu activity often peaks in February and can last until May, according to the DOH. The Center for Disease Control recommends vaccinations for those six months of age and older.

“Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days, but some will develop complications such as pneumonia, which can be life-threatening,” the DOH stated in a press release. “Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections also are examples of complications from flu. In addition, flu can make chronic health problems worse.”

Patient First doesn’t keep track of how many vaccines it gives out, but Taylor said there are some still available.

Many places around the county still have vaccines available, including pharmacies at CVS, Walgreens and RiteAid.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat and a runny nose. Some people will experience muscle or body aches, fatigue and headaches, according to the DOH website.

Preventative measures like washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water and not touching your face, nose, eyes or mouth with your hands can help deter the spread of the flu, Taylor said.

“If you’re feeling sick or feverish, don’t go to work or school,” she said. “Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze as well.”