Flu Season Hits Four State Earlier this Year

Flu Season Hits Four State Earlier this Year

It’s the time of year when many people are coughing and getting congested. It’s also known as the dreaded flu season.

HAGERSTOWN, Md.  -- The Flu Season started earlier this year in both Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The first reported case of the flu this year came on October third in Maryland. Last year it was October 19th. Health officials in Pennsylvania also say the flu season started earlier this year.

"The flu season started earlier this year and we are seeing an increase in the number of patients coming to the hospital with flu like symptoms,” said Ericka Kalp, Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention at Summit Health. 

As of December 26th, officials in Maryland say there’s been 77 lab confirmed cases of influenza, but that number, they say does not include all the people who don’t go to the doctor when they have the flu. Health officials say that could be a mistake, that the flu should be taken seriously.

“I know it's something people get used too, it's always around with family members and friends that have the flu, but every year it kills 16,000 to 20,000 people. It's not quite like a bad cold,” said Rod MacRae, Public Information Officer for the Washington County Health Department.

Doctors recommend getting a flu vaccine if you haven’t already, but say that still that guarantees no promises.  

“The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year depending on how well the vaccine is matched with the circulating virus, and also it depends in the health status of the person and their age,” said Kalp.

Health experts say to watch out for high fevers, body aches and the overall feeling of being tired. During the flu season, it’s best to be conscious of washing those hands to rid yourself of any germs that could turn you into a victim of the flu.

Flu shots are available through the Washington County Health Department and also at local pharmacies. 

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