The flu season appears to be starting earlier than usual this year, according to a doctor at St. Clair Hospital’s emergency room.
Dr. Emily Brown said she’s seen an “uptick” in the patients coming to the hospital with flu-like symptoms over the past couple of weeks.
She estimated there have been 70 cases so far, compared to none by this time last year.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in the number of patients being diagnosed with the flu,” she said. “The flu season was just later in the year last year. We’ll see if it’ll be worse, or if it’s just earlier.”
There is no shortage in the flu vaccine, so she suggested that everyone get a flu shot this year. The best time to get it was in the fall before flu season began, she said, although it’s still not too late to get vaccinated.
“For the healthy person, it’s mostly an annoyance,” Brown said. “But if you have any underlying diseases, it can be dangerous.”
Brown also said proper hand washing can be just as important to prevent getting the flu as receiving the vaccine.
“It’s simple infection control,” she said. “Hand washing, besides the flu shot, is the most important thing you can do.”
Most people can get a flu shot at their local pharmacy, primary care physician and sometimes at their workplace. To find out where flu shots are available in Dormont and Brookline, click here.