Flu now ‘widespread’ in Pa., here’s more on what you should know

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HANOVER, YORK COUNTY, Pa. --  The State Department of Health says the flu is officially "widespread" across the Commonwealth.

So far, 8 people in Pennsylvania have died from the flu this season.

Reports show Lancaster and Lebanon counties have the most confirmed cases in our area.

Unfortunately, doctors say there is no one sure fire way to prevent anyone from getting the flu, but a vaccine and some good practices can keep you from getting stuck on the couch.

It can feel like you have been hit with a ton of bricks.

"It's miserable between feeling just rundown, horrible headaches, and the sweats," said Stephen Canter, a father who is worried about the flu.

That misery is all brought on by the flu.

For some parents, hearing about the flu is like having a nightmare.

"I have four kids, and I'm always concerned one kid is going to be the outbreak monkey and bring the flu into the house," added Canter.

If you're the 'outbreak monkey', at work, school, home, doctors say you need to get treated.

"Part of the problem with the flu is the potential complications, not necessarily will it always turn into something else, but it can turn into pneumonia. It can turn into other things," said Doctor Bettina Rodriguez who treats patients at Wellspan Urgent Care in Hanover.

Although prevention isn't always effective, she says it's pretty simple.

"Lots of hand washing. I know we say that all the time, but it's so important, especially with hand sanitizer," explained Dr. Rodriguez.

Dr. Rodriguez says wash your hands with soap and water if they are dirty, but if you think your hands are germ covered, she says it's better to reach for the sanitizer instead.

"It's so easy to keep in your purse, in your pocket," she said.

She says teach your children to do the 'chicken wing', aka cough into their elbows and definitely get your flu shot if you haven't already.

"If you're not getting better, and your practitioner says you should be better in 5-7 days, you're not better, get checked out again," added Dr. Rodriguez.

Dr. Rodrigues says it is also really important for parents of young kids keep tabs on their health during the flu season.

Thankfully, health officials say there haven't  been any pediatric deaths from the flu in Pennsylvania so far this season.

For more information about the flu from the Pa. Department of Health -> click here.

Dr. Rodriguez says flu season is expected to last from now until the end of March.

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