Many Midstaters have already come down with the flu, but the season has not even peaked yet.
Although the Centers for Disease Control is classifying this flu season as moderate to severe, Pennsylvania Department of Health officials said this season is on target to be “normal.” But there is something abnormal about it.
According to the PA Department of Health, just under 12,000 Pennsylvanians have gotten the flu so far this season.
“I have not had it. I've had my flu shot, thank goodness, knock on wood. My husband's had it. He's not missed too much work, but it really wipes him out. Over the weekend it wiped him out. We have people at work out with it,” said Rose Agnew of Mechanicsburg.
Last year was particularly severe with more than 44,000 cases. Although this year is shaping up to be much less severe than last, there is a shocking statistic this flu season.
“The predominant strain that we're seeing in the state of PA is H1N1. It's a strain that causes more severe illness in young adults and children,” said Aimee Tysarczyk, Press Secretary for the PA Department of Health. “Approximately 95 percent of the cases that we're seeing in the state of PA are H1N1 cases, and those are lab confirmed cases.”
Officials are not sure why H1N1 made a comeback, but they have a theory.
“Strains evolve year over year, so it's not unusual to see it come back around at a certain point,” Tysarczyk said.
If you are one of the fortunate ones who remain healthy, PA Department of Health officials are reminding you to get your flu shot if you have not already.
Mark Simkvose, who works in Harrisburg, also has some advice.
“I avoid strangers. I stay healthy. I wash my hands a lot. I don't go to too many public places. I've become a hermit,” Simkvose said.
Flu season has yet to peak. That usually happens at the end of January or beginning of February, and can through May.
In the Midstate, Perry County has the least number of flu cases with 46. Dauphin County has the most with 354.