Pottsville Family Fights The Flu

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POTTSVILLE -- State Health officials said at least 11,000 Pennsylvanians have been diagnosed with the flu. Twenty two have died and hundreds hospitalized. A family from Schuylkill County is dealing with the illness.

Flu victims Grace, 6, and her sister Allayna, 8, are comforted by their mother Tammy Mellen.

The family from Pottsville has been dealing with high fevers and the rest of the symptoms that go with the flu. The sisters will be kept out of school for at least a week. Tammy Mellen said she hopes the infection doesn't spread.

"I got four children altogether, the other two are not sick, knock on wood, and I got two in school, and I got two at home sick," said Tammy Mellen.

Charles Mellen the children's father said the flu has changed his  family's routine.

"They stay on the couch, that`s where they've been staying. They sleep so when they go up to bed, we disinfect the couch for them, their stuff is washed separate from everybody else`s, that way we can be sure that nothing is mixed and ends up with this flu," said Charles Mellen.

The Mellen children did receive their flu shots months ago.

However, health professionals at Gnaden Huetten Hospital in Lehighton said flu shots are not full proof.

"Even if you had the flu shot you may get flu like symptoms or even the flu, but it's going to be at a lesser severity than someone else," said Wendy Wickward, Director of Emergency Services.

At the two hospitals owned by Blue Mountain Health System there has been a spike in flu cases.

"We show about 10 cases of the flu last year. Starting in November we have seen 65 cases just in one facility alone so we`re seeing six times more than the previous years," said Marsha Resch.

More information about the flu, it`s symptoms and effects can be found at:

The PA Department of Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention