By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The flu is now widespread in our area and around much of the country.
Health officials say so far it’s been an average year for the flu, and that the vaccine is working pretty well.
They say we got off to a slow start for the flu season, probably because the weather was mild, but recently it’s been ramping up, and there have been more than 50 flu deaths in Pennsylvania.
“Flu activity is what we call “wide-spread,” meaning it’s present in every county in the commonwealth,” said Dr. Loren Robinson with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
She says there’s been a spike in flu cases across the state in the last two weeks.
“Most of which we attribute to having a couple of spikes of cold weather, the flu is a cold weather virus that is transmitted via droplets,” Dr. Robinson explained.
There have been 33,000 flu cases confirmed in Pennsylvania so far, with just over 7,000 in New Jersey, and almost 900 in Delaware.
“While most people do kinda get sick for a few days with the flu, there are some people who do develop fatal complications, which is why it’s important to protect yourself,” said Dr. Robinson.
The CDC says this season’s flu vaccine seems to be working pretty well. Preliminary figures show it’s 48% effective.
It’s considered a good year when flu shots are 50-to-60% effective.
“It’s still flu season, and it’s really important to protect yourself, and getting the flu shot is the best way to protect yourself,” Dr. Robinson said.
Doctors say it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to kick in, which would be just in time for the peak of the flu season, which is usually in late February, or early March.