Health
7:21 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Flu On The Rise in PA Since Thanksgiving

More Pennsylvanians are coming down with the flu earlier this year.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported the activity has increased from sporadic to widespread over the last four weeks, meaning more than half of the state’s regions have experienced outbreak.

Acting Secretary of Health, Michael Wolf said there have been an astonishing number of cases since the beginning of December. “In the last week, the number of cases being reported to the department have more than doubled from the previous week from 172 to 448,” he said.

The Department recommends anyone older than six months should be vaccinated and its' especially important for the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions. The vaccine takes about 10 to 14 days to produce full, protective benefits.

Wolf said the vaccine is the best option for staying healthy.  "There’s plenty of vaccines available; we know that the vaccine is well-matched with the strains of flu that we currently see circulating throughout the Commonwealth,’ Wolf said.

Wolf said in addition to getting vaccinated, there are several common sense procedures people can follow to keep themselves and their families healthy.

“The really important one is stay at home when you’re ill. Another one is to be washing your hands often with soap and water,” Wolf said. “The alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also be used when soap and water are not handy. Finally, we would highly suggest people clean and disinfect high-use areas, especially is someone has been coughing or sneezing,” he said.