We're in the middle of February, with much of the winter behind us, but doctors are warning that it is still not too late to get a flu shot.
Late last year, the State Department of Health declared the flu to be "widespread" in Pennsylvania. But because flu season can last through March or April- or some years, even into May- a flu shot is still recommended.
Dr. Joseph Koval is Medical Director for Clinical Performance at Geisinger CMC in Scranton. He says even age groups that aren't usually in the high-risk category have been affected this year.
"Usually the very young and the elderly are at the highest risk not only from dying from the flu, but developing complications from the flu, such as pneumonia. This year we're seeing a particularly virulent strain affecting the middle age, or the 18-49 year olds. That's a little atypical. We've seen it in years past, but it's been a problem for us this year," said Dr. Koval.
To avoid the flu: avoid people who are ill, stay home- or keep the kids home- for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone, wash your hands frequently, and don't forget to cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow to avoid the spread of germs.