Pa. Health Department offers free flu shots at Farm Show

HARRISBURG, Pa,. -- A Pennsylvania death linked to influenza making national headlines may have some wondering if they should get a flu shot.

The man who fell victim to complications from the flu was a 21 year-old bodybuilder, someone who appeared to be physically fit.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Health have a few things they want people to consider during flu season.

Barbara Parisi is just one of many people at the Pennsylvania Farm Show who decided to sign up for a free flu shot from the Health Department.

"I get it every year. It's important, because I don't want to get the flu, so preventative measures are always the best," Parisi said.

Acting Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said "so far this year, we have seen in Pennsylvania, we have seen over 11,000 cases of the flu, and that's a normal year for us."

The Pennsylvania Department of Health set up a booth at the popular ag event to help reduce those numbers.

"For most people, the flu will be pretty self-limited. You'll feel very ill. You'll have a lot of respiratory symptoms, for five, seven days or so, and then recover, but for some people, it can be very serious. And, it can even be fatal," Levine said.

Levine said the key is to listen to your body and tell a doctor, but don't wait as those symptoms could be a sign of something serious.

"If you catch the flu early, then individuals can get anti-flu medication. There is anti viral medication for the flu, but you have to start it within the first couple days," Levine said.

Some men may tell themselves or others to tough it up when they get sick, but there's a reason why you might want to reconsider and call a doctor if you suspect you have the flu.

"You can't tough it out of the flu. If you're going to get the flu, you're going to get it. So, whether you're male or female, it won't make any difference, the flu can be quite serious," Levine said.

While Parisi fights the flu with her annual shot, her husband wasn't as fortunate last year when he got hit with the bug, but did not get the shot.

"He did not last year. He did this year. I think I actually didn't have to say to him. He was the first one to get the flu shot this year. Once you've had it, you really don't want to get it again," Parisi said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health will be handing out free flu shots at the Farm Show through Saturday.