In all, 354 people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the flu virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 2,646.
Plenty of patients have been coming in for treatment for the flu at Reading Hospital.On Tuesday, the hospital in West Reading opened its alternate flu site, where patients with influenza-like illnesses were sent for treatment near the emergency room, said Dr. Charles Barbera, chairman of Reading Hospital's emergency department.
The current season may be of epidemic proportions, but it is certainly not a pandemic, he said.
According to the MDHHS, the vaccine is especially important for people at increased risk for complications from flu, including children, adults aged 65 years and older, people of any age with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women. This doesn't always prevent the flu, but can shorten the duration or severity.
"While all influenza viruses undergo frequent genetic changes, the changes that have occurred in influenza A (H3N2) viruses have more frequently resulted in differences between the virus components of the flu vaccine and circulating influenza viruses", the CDC statement said.
"With the peak of flu season potentially still weeks away, it is still not too late to get a flu shot".
This season's numbers also are much higher than last year's at this time.
Messer said in a phone interview Monday, Feb. 5, that Avalon has filled hundreds of Tamiflu prescriptions since flu season started. The cases have been predominantly influenza type A, a form of the virus that is usually more severe and mutates quickly.
"It's the prevalence ... and we gauge that based on the history for each ZIP code and metro area", as well as by the percentage sickened, said Dan Shaw, president of the association that operates doctorreports.com. All children under the age of 18 can also receive the flu vaccine for free.
The flu is widespread in nearly every state in the country, as of January 27, 2018.
"There's some talk of the vaccine being less effective this year". If you are experiencing fever, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, muscle aches and headaches, visit your doctor immediately, and take antivirals if prescribed.
The state department of health recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot.
Sixberry said people should continue to wash their hands to avoid spreading the virus, as well as stay home if they have flu-like symptoms.
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