Midstate hospitals seeing first flu cases of the season

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It may seem early, but local hospitals are already confirming cases of the flu.

PinnacleHealth’s Harrisburg Hospital is seeing its first flu case this season. Doctors say if you haven’t already gotten it, you should get your flu shot as soon as possible.

There may be some confusion about when to get a flu shot. Doctors told us it’s never too soon to get your vaccine back in September, but articles recently posted on several websites cited a doctor, saying senior citizens should wait until October or November to get a shot because the effectiveness could wear off. However, the Centers for Disease Control say all age groups shouldn’t wait because the flu season typically peaks between December and February.

“What we typically advise people is to get the shot as soon as it’s available. I got mine in early September,” said Dr. John D. Goldman, infectious decision specialist at PinnacleHealth.

Theresa Sellers is a registered nurse at PinnacleHealth. She got her shot as well.

“We interact with people all the time, whether it’s at home or at work or out in the community, and in order to keep everyone safe, not just yourself but others you’re interacting with, it’s important to get the flu shot,” Sellers said.

Goldman says keep your hands off your face because the virus is usually spread from nose to hand to face to nose.

“What happens is that you cough, you get the virus on your hands, you touch a doorknob, you touch a table, someone else comes along, touches the same doorknob, touches the same table, and then touches their own mouth,” Goldman said.

Another tip is to wash your hands frequently, and if you can’t, use hand sanitizer. Don’t go to work if you’re sick, as you’re likely to spread germs.

Goodman predicts a typical flu season. It’s too early to tell which virus will be most common.

WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital and Lancaster General Hospital have not seen any flu cases this season. Chambersburg Hospital has seen three flu cases since August.

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