HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – October is the official start of flu season, and cases have already been reported in Pennsylvania.
The Department of Health is encouraging people to get flu vaccines by the end of October.
Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine says the flu was bad two years ago and last year, more than 122,000 cases and 258 deaths were reported in the state.
Flu season in Australia is typically an indicator of what’s in store for the United States. According to Australia’s Department of Health, the flu season started early and peaked about two months earlier than usual.
Levine says she is familiar with the reports but believes it is too soon to anticipate how severe this season will be.
Physician Todd Felix of Penn State Health says a huge misconception is that the flu vaccine will make you sick.
“While it is true that some people after they receive a flu vaccination feel a little bit achy or not well for a couple of days, I encourage them that that’s their immune system working to develop the antibodies to the flu,” Felix said.
Researchers are working on a flu patch that does not require a needle, but it has not been tested on humans.
“There are other ways that people are researching on a general flu vaccine so you wouldn’t have to get an update each year,” Levine said.
The only forms of flu protection currently available are traditional shots or a nasal mist.