Flu season has arrived. October is the month that cases of influenza start to increase. And after a really bad flu season last year, officials are urging Pennsylvanians to take precautions.
The amount of adults who got the flu vaccine last year was down. Only 37 percent of adults across the country got the vaccine last year. Officials are doing what they can to boost those numbers this year.
“This is the perfect time for people to be prepared,” said Dr. Levine. “And that means getting a flu shot.”
October marks the start of a new flu season, coming off of a particularly rough 2017-18 season.
“The flu last year was very severe, with over 250 deaths in Pennsylvania. And over 80,000 deaths nationally,” said Dr. Levine.
Part of that could be due to a lack of people getting vaccinated.
Dr. Levine: “The more people in a family, in a community, that get the flu shot, the less the flu will be prevalent in that area.”
Early into this flu season, Pennsylvania has seen about 200 cases so far, mostly in the Philadelphia region. There’s no way to tell how bad this year will ultimately be. The State Health Department isn’t taking chances, using social media and going into communities to try to prevent another bad season.
“We really try to get the word out that the flu vaccine is safe. You can not get the flu from the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Levine. “The flu shot is very safe and very effective.”
All insurance companies cover the flu shot. Last year 172 children nationwide died from the flu. About 80 percent of them had not gotten a flu shot.