Reporting Dr. Maria Simbra
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Flu activity is widespread across much of the country. And in the state of Pennsylvania, Allegheny County has the most cases.
“We have 336 cases so far this season, with four reported deaths,” says Dr. Micael Gronostaj, of the Allegheny County Health Department. “And it’s much more cases than we’ve had over the past two seasons.”
That has people seeking the vaccine.
“I haven’t had one in a while, and all the reports, this is a bad one, I figured, this was the time,” said a man at the health department for a flu shot. “I only had it once, a long time ago, and I don’t want to get it again.”
If you got a flu shot this year, you were immunized against an influenza A strain of H1N1, and influenza B strain, and another strain of influenza A — an H3N2.
And the main strain we have circulating this year is…H3N2.
“The reason that’s important, is that strain is in the flu shot,” says Dr. Gronostaj.
But people who had the shot can still get the flu because it takes a couple weeks for protection to build, and if you’re exposed before you’re ready, you could still get mildly sick.
“People can still develop the flu when they get the flu vaccine, but they may help prevent them from going to the hospital or from deaths,” he explains.
And the shot is a 90 percent match, meaning 10 percent of the flu strains out there aren’t covered.
Even so, it’s the best prevention we have along with common sense measures like avoiding sick people and washing your hands.