Health
8:32 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Flu Season Reaching Zenith

As flu season reaches its peak across the country, the Allegheny County Health Department is asking those who haven't been vaccinated to get flu shots and urging everyone to wash hands after contact with other people.

ACHD Acting Director Dr. Ron Voorhees said even though it takes a few weeks for the immune system to create defensive antibodies after a vaccine, it's not too late to get one for this flu season.

"Certainly, influenza vaccine is very effective and this year, as usual, we have a very good batch," said Voorhees. "Most of the viruses that are circulating are the same that are contained in the vaccine this year, so that's good."

He said people should remember to take other precautionary measures as well as the flu shot.

"Washing hands after contact with other people will help prevent the virus from spreading that way as well," said Voorhees. "So, good hand-washing, covering coughs, staying home when sick, and avoiding other sick people are also ways in addition to the vaccine to help keep from getting the flu."

The ACHD director said there are about 700 confirmed cases of influenza in Allegheny County so far this flu season, and a few deaths have been recorded as well. He said roughly one in six adults would get the flu over the course of the season, with infection rates higher among schoolchildren.