Flu Epidemic
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The Pennsylvania Department of Health says there have been over 2,600 confirmed cases of the flu and five deaths during the influenza season. Health officials say there have been 2,667 laboratory-confirmed flu cases throughout the state as of Nov. 30. Officials are urging residents to get their flu vaccine if they haven't already. "The flu is serious and can be deadly, which is why it is so important for everyone to take the proper precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones and anyone they meet," said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. "In the last few weeks, we have seen flu cases increase in all state regions. Especially with the upcoming holidays, where many people will be gathering together, I cannot stress enough how important it is for You to get your flu vaccine so can be protected throughout the flu season. There is no better measure to protect yourself than to get a flu vaccine." Health officials say the flu nasal spray is also available this season. Influenza is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the nose, throat and lungs and may include the following symptoms Fever Headache Tiredness Dry cough Sore throat Nasal congestion Body aches Officials say everyone 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every year. It takes about two weeks for the antibodies from the vaccine to develope protection against infection. Officials say if you do become sick with the flu, stay home and rest. If you are at risk for developing serious complications from the flu or feel extremely ill, you should see a doctor immediately. Residents are encouraged to practice healthy habits, such as covering their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze, frequently washing their hands during flu season and remembering to disinfect commonly touched objects like door knobs, light switches, countertops cellphones and computers.