By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine is urging the public to get their flu vaccine as flu season intensifies.

This is a 3-dimensional illustration showing the different features of an influenza virus, including the surface proteins hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA)/CDC

As of December 28, there have been more than 17,300 laboratory-confirmed cases and nine deaths statewide.

“The flu is serious and can be deadly, which is why it is extremely important that Pennsylvanians are receiving their flu vaccine now,” said Dr. Levine. “We are concerned with the growing amount of cases. In addition to getting your flu vaccine, make sure you are taking other preventative measures to protect yourself from the spread of the flu. There is no better measure to protect yourself from flu than to get a flu vaccine.”

According to the Department of Health, each day during the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show, the Department of Health and Penn State Health will be providing free flu vaccines at the Department of Health booth. The Pennsylvania Farm Show began January 4 and runs through January 11.

If you have not received your flu vaccine yet, we encourage you to stop by the department’s booth,” said Dr. Levine. “It is a quick and easy process to help protect not only yourself, but anyone you may come into contact with this flu season. If you are not able to attend the farm show, you can obtain your flu vaccine at your doctor’s office, pharmacy, local walk-in clinic or grocery store.”

Dr. Levine noted the flu vaccine can often diminish the severity of symptoms a person might experience should they come down with the flu. In addition to the flu shot, the flu nasal spray is also available this year, and both are recommended to protect yourself against the flu.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that so far this season there have been at least 6.4 million flu illnesses, 55,000 hospitalizations and 2,900 deaths from flu.

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