Bellefonte

80,000 people died of flu last winter. Are you ready for this year’s flu season?

Trying to avoid the flu? You may be washing your hands wrong

Medical experts insist washing your hands is the time-tested method of flu prevention, right behind flu shots. One simple hand washing tip may keep you from catching the bug.
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Medical experts insist washing your hands is the time-tested method of flu prevention, right behind flu shots. One simple hand washing tip may keep you from catching the bug.

It’s getting to be that time of year again — time to prepare for flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you get a flu vaccine before the flu starts spreading in your community. People should get a flu shot by the end of October. It takes about two weeks after getting the flu vaccine for antibodies that protect against the flu to develop in the body, according to the CDC.

Getting the flu shot later than that can still be beneficial, though, the CDC says.

According to the New York Times, more than 80,000 Americans died of the flu last winter.

As of Aug. 25, 180 pediatric deaths had been reported to the CDC during the 2017-18 season, according to the CDC. It’s the highest number of flu-associated deaths in children reported during a flu season. The CDC reports that about 80 percent of those deaths were children who hadn’t received a flu vaccination.

During the 2017-18 flu season, there were 688 total cases in Centre County — a flu rate of 432 cases per 100,000 people, according to a report from lehighvalleylive.com.

Bellefonte Area School District and Penn State Health are collaborating to offer a Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic, scheduled for 8 a.m.-noon Oct. 13 at Bellefonte Area High School. The flu shot will be free for the first 1,000 people, ages 3 and older.

“We are excited to provide this service to our community members free of charge,” Crystal Henry, regional client services specialist for Penn State Medical Group in State College, said in an email. “At Penn State Health Medical Group we are striving to provide the best care to families in the region. We believe that by providing free flu shots that we will reach families who may not have the means to otherwise get their flu shot. In turn this will lead to healthier communities and less hospital visits especially during the flu season.”

Other flu shot clinics will be offered in Centre County this fall.

Mount Nittany Physician Group will have flu shot clinics at all of its primary care locations through Dec. 13. Clinics will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursdays at Bellefonte Internal Medicine, Bellefonte Pediatrics, Blue Course Drive Internal Medicine, Boalsburg Pediatrics, Green Tech Drive Family Medicine, Mifflin County Family Medicine, Park Avenue Internal Medicine, Penns Valley Family Medicine and Philipsburg Family Medicine. Additionally, on Oct. 6 and 20 and Nov. 3 and 17, there will be a flu shot clinic offered from 8 a..m. to noon at Saturday Acute Clinic.

Veterans in the Veterans Affairs system can get a free flu shot at the following drive-thru flu clinics: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Altoona VAMC and Huntingdon Clinic and Oct. 20 at the State College Clinic.

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