Health Officials: Get Your Flu Shot –

A button at a flu shot event in Pennsylvania in 2019. File photo.

If you haven’t yet received your flu shot, state health officials say you should now.

Flu season is underway in Bucks County and around the state.

In normal years, an estimated five to 20 percent of Pennsylvanians get the flu and about 120 to 2,000 resident die from influenza and its complications. This flu season comes again comes as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends the flu shot or nasal spray for all residents six months of age and older.

“Every flu season is different and this flu season leaves a lot of unknowns,” Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said recently. “One thing we do know is the flu is serious and can be deadly, which is why it is extremely important that Pennsylvanians are receiving their flu vaccine now.”

“The flu vaccine can often diminish the severity of symptoms a person might experience should they come down with the flu,” officials said in a press release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported it is safe to get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time.

Last year’s flu season was among one of the mildest on record in Pennsylvania. State health officials credited the low flu activity due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, like physical distancing, wearing a mask, and limited gatherings.

“As our communities start to relax COVID-19 containment measures – such as masking and social distancing – we’re seeing a resurgence of other respiratory viruses, which does not bode well for the flu season ahead,” Dr. John D. Goldman, infectious disease specialist at UPMC in Central Pennsylvania said.

Goldman said the flu shot is an easy way to fight the flu.

Health officials noted most flu cases are not counted because they are not confirmed by testing as many of those who are ill do not seek medical care.

Since the flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, health officials said testing is likely needed to confirm a diagnosis.

Health officials said those who are sick with the flu should stay home and rest until they are better. If needed, those with the flu should seek medical attention.

Flu shots can be obtained at a doctor’s office, pharmacy, local walk-in clinic, or grocery store clinics. Those who need a flu shot can visit the state health department website.

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