State Health Departments Urging Procrastinators to Get Flu Shots

"If you haven't gotten a flu shot yet, don't hesitate; there's still time," Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. "The flu vaccine is the best precaution you can take, and it not only helps protect you, but also your family members, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone you come in contact with. We're seeing increasing numbers of flu cases across the commonwealth, so don't wait to get your shot."

Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) were widespread in 23 states and New York City in the most recent data available -- for the week that ended Jan. 26, 2019. As a result, several state health departments are urging people who haven't gotten a flu shot this season to get one. Pennsylvania's Department of Health reminded Pennsylvanians on Feb. 1 that there is still time to get a flu shot to protect themselves and their family and loved ones from the flu.

"If you haven't gotten a flu shot yet, don't hesitate; there's still time," Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. "The flu vaccine is the best precaution you can take, and it not only helps protect you, but also your family members, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone you come in contact with. We're seeing increasing numbers of flu cases across the commonwealth, so don't wait to get your shot."

The department's Feb. 1 update reported that flu has been detected in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, and the number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases statewide on Jan. 26 reached close to 20,000, with 25 flu-related deaths reported, including one pediatric death.

"Nothing about the flu is routine," Levine added. "The symptoms can be fatal, but residents can take a number of steps to protect themselves. Wash your hands frequently, disinfect surfaces such as countertops, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. And the very best thing: Get a flu shot."

States with high ILI activity were Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia, and health authorities in several of those states are issuing reminders similar to Pennsylvania DOH's. ILL activity was moderate in Puerto Rico and 10 states (Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming), according to CDC's most recent FluView report.

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