By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New numbers show what many of you already know. The flu is ramping up earlier than usual. More than three thousand new cases in Pennsylvania in just a week, and there have been six deaths so far, including two in Philadelphia.
3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has a closer look at the flu situation in our area.
Emergency rooms are extra busy with people complaining of flu like symptoms.
“I don’t know what happened all of a sudden if just came up on me,” said Sandra Lee, a patient.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania, for the first time this season, and New Jersey now have high levels of flu-like illnesses across the state. Delaware has moderate levels.
Looking specifically at confirmed cases of the flu in New Jersey, the state tells CBS-3 they’re seeing a moderate amount of flu in the southern part of the state, unlike the northern part where they’re seeing more cases of the flu.
“Fevers, body aches, cough congestion, some people having nausea, vomiting,” said Dr. Jonathan Hansen, an Emergency Medicine Specialist describing the flu.
Doctors say influenza, that’s highly contagious, strikes quickly.
The prescription anti-viral Tamiflu can slightly reduce the length and severity of the flu. Otherwise Dr. Hansen said, “Take Tylenol or Motrin. Take lots of fluids, stay home and don’t expose others.”
“Get your flu shot it ain’t worth it. I feel rough,” said Sandra.
Flu shots are the best way to prevent the flu, and it’s not too late to get one. The vaccine does not cause the flu, and it takes about two weeks for it to be protective.