It seems everywhere you turn this winter, people are sick. This flu season is hitting particularly hard. Just this week, Lancaster County reported its ninth flu-related death of the season.
If you believe the numbers, things are getting better. But it has been a rough year. Take Lancaster County for example, over 1,500 cases of the flu have already been reported this year. That compares to just 75 all last season. And while the numbers are turning in the right direction, the season is not nearly complete.
Flu season is in full swing and this year the illness is catching many people off guard. Over 32,000 cases of the flu have been reported across Pennsylvania since the beginning of October. That number is more than ten times the number of flu-cases reported just last year.
The season started early in October and the cases are piling up. This week, Lancaster County has reported its ninth flu-related death. Statewide, 141 people have died from the flu compared to just 11 statewide in 2011/2012. Admittedly, doctors say last year was a light flu year but this year has been tough and we’re not out of the woods quite yet.
“Keep in mind that just because flu season started early, doesn’t mean that it’s ending early. While the CDC has reported it has peaked in some parts of the country, the season lasts until early spring,” said Dr. Keri Peterson, Physician.
The good news is the amount of flu cases seems to be dropping. The peak of the season appears to be in the middle of January. The amount of people experiencing the flu has dropped statewide from over 2,700 two weeks ago to over 1,200 last week. Doctors hope the season is beginning to wind down but still warn people to take the proper precautions.
“Get yourself a vaccine and number two, wash your hands regularly, that means a full 20 seconds with soap and warm water,” said Dr. Peterson.
The vaccine this year is a very close match to the strain of flu that many people are suffering with. And even though it seems late in the game, doctors are still recommending that people get vaccinated. It’s not too late. Flu season lasts until the spring.