The Centers for Disease Control says the number of flu cases across the nation is expected to increase in the coming weeks. But since it's already widespread in our region, is it too late to protect yourself?
The short answer is no. Medical professionals say it's not too late to fight off the flu. You can do what 50-year-old George Aurandt did Friday morning, get a flu shot. He took advantage of the vaccinations being offered at the Duncansville Pharmacy.
It's his first one flu shot ever. Why? "Just a lot of responsibility of doing things," he says," and I got to take care of my mother and work at the same time."
Pharmacist Ron Dick says, "there's been a large outbreak particularly here in Blair County and we've been seeing quite a few more people just walk in, which is great."
This season's vaccine protects against the H191 flu strain, which the CDC reports is putting people in the hospital with severe symptoms. The State Health Department says H191 is also the most prevalent form of the flu in Pennsylvania.
Dick says all you have to do is fill out a consent form, answer a few questions and he'll administer the vaccine.
Still, he understands that some people prefer a more natural route. Duncansville Pharmacy stocks two forms of Sambucol, made from black elderberry. One version formulated to help you fight off the flu---the other to take if you develop symtpoms.
The pharmacist says, "the other homeopathic we really place a lot of credence in is the Oscillococcinum. It's a really long word, but it does seem to work." Customers tell him the remedy alleviates headaches, fever, general aches , and chills within a couple of days.
Others still turn to better known natural alternatives like vitamin C and echinacea. George hopes the shot works for him and his 91-year-old mother, who's also had one.
The CDC and medical professionals say while it would have been better to get it earlier, it's not too late to get a flu shot.