HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today reminded Pennsylvanians that it is not too late to receive an influenza vaccine, particularly since a national spike in severe influenza illnesses is being reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"As long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it's not too late to get vaccinated," said Secretary Murphy. "If you become sick with the flu at any time, there is always a chance for health complications. Getting vaccinated against the flu is the surest way to protect you and your loved ones against this potentially serious illness."
The CDC expects further increases in activity in the coming weeks. Flu activity most often peaks in February and can last into May. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.
Pennsylvania is reporting an average number of flu cases this season. There have been more than 1,300 laboratory confirmed cases of the virus. It is estimated that 5 to 20 percent of Pennsylvanians will get the flu each year, and 120 to 2,000 people will die from complications related to influenza. Four people have died from influenza-related complications this season in Pennsylvania.
Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days, but some will develop complications (such as pneumonia), which can be life-threatening. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections also are examples of complications from flu. In addition, flu can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma or chronic congestive heart failure may experience worsening of these conditions triggered by the flu.
For more information about influenza in Pennsylvania, please visit www.flufreepa.com. To view the CDC health advisory on the severe influenza illnesses report, visit: http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00387.asp.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Worden, DOH, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health