Flu virus now widespread across Pennsylvania

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YORK COUNTY, Pa.-- Flu season is in full effect across Pennsylvania, with the PA Department of Health now declaring it widespread.

Health officials say that the Southeast and Northeast regions are getting hit the hardest. Nearly 6,435 cases have tested positive for the flu virus to-date, with eight flu related deaths this season.

The virus can impact some more than others-- health officials say older people, younger kids, pregnant women, and those with certain health conditions are at a much greater risk.

If you haven't gotten your flu shot, the Center for Disease Control says there is still time. However, it is more effective to get it early on before it hits your community.

The PA Department of Health says so far there have been 64 confirmed flu cases in Dauphin County, 172 in Lancaster County, and 70 in York County.

According to health experts, the virus spreads from person to person from something as little as a cough or a sneeze. You can even pass the flu along to someone before you start showing symptoms.

These symptoms include: a fever (usually at a higher temperature), dry cough, sore throat, fatigue, headache, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle or body aches. The CDC  says you may not experience all of these symptoms, even a few could mean you have the flu.

They say the best way to help prevent the virus is getting  your flu vaccine early, washing your hands to reduce germs, and try staying away from people who are sick.

Now even if you get your flu shot, the CDC says you might still have a chance of getting the flu. That's because you could have been exposed to it right before your shot, you might be exposed to a flu virus that isn't included in the seasons flu vaccine (there are several that circulate each year).

The first reported case of the flu was in October, and health officials say peak flu season is in January.

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