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Flu Vaccine Supplies Running Low

SCRANTON — We are in the midst of flu season and the health care providers at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton aren’t expecting it to ...

SCRANTON -- We are in the midst of flu season and the health care providers at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton aren't expecting it to slow down anytime soon. They say they've seen an increase in flu cases since Christmas.

“Drastically increased in the past two weeks and we expect that to stay elevated for at least another two weeks if not more,” says Kevin Rinehimer, a registered trauma nurse at Geisinger CMC.

According to the Department of Health, so far this season the state of Pennsylvania has reported more than 17,000 cases of the flu, with a large increase in reported cases in our area, just in the past few weeks.

The increase in flu cases has caused some pharmacies, like The Medicine Shoppe in Scranton, to run out of the vaccine to help prevent it and remedies to deal with it.

“So, at this point, we're actually out of the flu shot and at this point, we're out of Tamiflu. In the last week, we sold quite a few to the people who are calling in that actually got the flu now,” says Dr. Lyn Ruane of The Medicine Shoppe on Pittston Avenue in Scranton.

And for pharmacies like Dr. Lyn Ruane's Medicine Shoppe, it can be hard to stock up.

"It's hard to get Tamiflu at this point cause of the outbreaks, so now you're trying to order it from your wholesalers and you can't get it to supply to your customers,” tells Dr. Ruane.

Tamiflu is a prescription that can help shorten the virus.

"Tamiflu is an anti-viral and that'll help with the viral replication process during the flu and it help shortens the virus,” says Rinehimer.

If you are diagnosed with the flu and are unable to get Tamiflu, both pharmacists and nurses at Geisinger Community Medical Center tell Newswatch 16 the best thing for you to do is to get plenty of rest and treat your symptoms.

"Gatorade, electrolyte replacers for treating the symptoms and any over the counter medicine just to treat any viral symptoms that are related to the flu,” adds Rinehimer.

If you have the flu, you should wait 24 hours after your fever breaks before heading back to work or school.  There are pharmacies in the area with the flu shot and Tamiflu available for customers. Call your pharmacy before heading out.