Flu on the increase

Local News

The State Department of Health says flu activity is still low across Pennsylvania, with 872 confirmed cases, but last week, the numbers increased by more than they have in previous weeks. The illness has now been confirmed in 59 of the state’s 67 counties. So far, one person, a patient 65 or older has died of flu this season

Altoona Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Robert  Sullivan says it’s still too early to know what age group will be most affected by the flu this year.

“A few years ago, we had the flu outbreak hitting young adults primarily, so it can really hit the spectrum, but certainly people that are immune compromised people that have underlying cancer or they’re on medications that suppress their immune system, they’re very susceptible.”

The CDC  recommends the flu vaccine for everyone six months and over.

Dr. Sullivan says, “The last few years they were giving high dose vaccines,  but that’s not been recommended this year. It’s been shown that the high dose might induce more antibody protection, but it also may have more side effects, because of the higher amount of antigen in the vaccine.”

He says you should definitely consider getting the flu vaccine if you have a compromised immune system or a serious chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes.

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