HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Health Physician General Dr. Carrie DeLone and Secretary of Aging Brian Duke are reminding Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated against influenza before the holiday season.
So far this year, influenza activity has been sporadic; however, it usually picks up after Thanksgiving. Now is an excellent time to get the vaccine for those who have not yet received it, since it takes two weeks after vaccination for immunity to reach highest levels.
Last year in Pennsylvania more than 28,000 influenza cases were reported to the Department of Health with nearly 50 percent of the 131 influenza related deaths occurring in cases involving people age 65 and older.
"Prevention is the key to keeping older Pennsylvanians healthy," Secretary of Aging Brian Duke said. "One of the most important steps older adults can take during the flu season is to get vaccinated against that year's flu strains."
Other groups at high risk for developing the flu include young children, pregnant women, anyone with chronic medical conditions and healthcare workers.
"Vaccines not only protect the individual receiving them, they also help protect those around you who may be too young to get vaccinated or can't do so because of medical reasons," Dr. DeLone said. "By increasing vaccination rates, we can fight the spread of influenza and help Pennsylvanians stay healthy into the New Year."
Flu season typically runs from October through May and often peaks between January and March, with an average of 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population developing influenza each year.
For more information on seasonal influenza, contact your health care provider, call 877-PA-HEALTH or visit www.flufreepa.com.
Media contacts: Aimee Tysarczyk, Health, 717-787-1783
Drew Wilburne, Aging, 717-783-1549
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Aging; Pennsylvania Department of Health