Pa. Health Department urges people to get flu shots now

HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Department of Health launched a “Stopping the Flu Starts with You” campaign at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center on Friday.

Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy wants people to know now is the best time to get your flu shot.

Last year, 64 Pennsylvanians died from the flu. Murphy said all healthy people, ages six months and older, should get their shot to prevent that from happening this year.

Murphy got her flu shot at the event.

“It didn’t hurt at all,” she said.

Murphy encourages others to get their flu shot, as well.

“It’s not only about protecting you,” she said. “It’s about protecting people who are more vulnerable.”

“The more people who are vaccinated, the less chance the flu can spread through our community,” said Craig Hillemeier, senior vice president, dean, and CEO of Penn State Health.

You can take several steps to prevent the flu.

“This is the time for flu shots,” Murphy said. “I encourage everyone to get a flu shot. That is the best way of protecting against the flu.”

“It’s important that people wash their hands. It’s probably one of the most important ways that we can make sure,” Hillemeier said. “If you have influenza, it’s important that you stay away from people who are liable to catch influenza.”

Children and the elderly are vulnerable to getting very sick with the flu.

“It’s important that if you cough or sneeze that you cover your mouth and nose because oftentimes, influenza is commonly spread through air droplets that are associated with coughing and sneezing,” Hillemeier said.

Try to cough into your elbow and not into your hands. Wipe down laptops, cell phones, and doorknobs with anti-bacterial wipes.

Last year, the flu season peaked late in Pennsylvania, and the swine flu was common.

“It is really early to predict what type of flu season we’ll have. Last year, we had 32,000 cases in Pennsylvania, reported cases,” Murphy said.

Penn State Health will have a drive-through flu clinic at Lebanon High School on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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