Tuesday, November 23, 2010

As Flu Season Begins, State Encourages Vaccine

It’s flu season again, and after the first casualty to the virus in Pennsylvania, state residents are encouraged to protect themselves and others by getting a flu shot.

The State Department of Health Acting Secretary Michael Huff has confirmed a 45-year-old man from Lehigh County as Pennsylvania’s first reported flu-related death of the 2010-11 flu season.

“This individual was confirmed to have 2009 H1N1, which we know is beginning to circulate."

Huff says this year’s seasonal influenza vaccine provides protection against 2009 H1N1, as well as two other strains of flu, A/H3N2 and influenza B which are circulating in Pennsylvania.

“If there’s any good news in this, the good news is that both of those types of Influenza are covered in this year’s flu preparation,” Huff says. “Every year with the exception of last year there are three strains in the influenza vaccine.”

It is estimated that more than 36,000 Americans, and around 1,000 Pennsylvanian’s, die from flu-related complications yearly.

Huff says that it’s important to keep common work areas clean, along with frequently washing your hands, especially after sneezing or coughing. Most important however, is getting a flu shot, to protect both your and your family.

“An influenza vaccine, a flu shot, is the most important and effective way to protect not only your health, but the health of your loved ones.”

For those already infected with the flu, Huff advises staying home from work and avoiding contact with the healthy until you are fever-free, in order to prevent spreading.

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