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17,000 Cases of Flu in Pennsylvania So Far

COAL TOWNSHIP, Pa. — The flu is no joke, and Chuck Harris of Danville knows that all too well. “I had it about a week ago for like two days, and the...

COAL TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The flu is no joke, and Chuck Harris of Danville knows that all too well.

"I had it about a week ago for like two days, and then I got it again maybe three days ago, and I'm just getting over it again," Harris said.

Harris is one of more than 17,000 people in Pennsylvania who has had the flu this season. This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health urged people to get their flu shots.

"We're seeing high cases of flu all over the country, and we've already had a number of flu deaths. In particular, the number of pediatric flu deaths is double what it was this time last year," Dr. Allison Schuessler said.

Dr. Allison Schuessler is a pediatrician at Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital. She says this season is on track to be one of the worst flu seasons in over a decade. Nine people in Pennsylvania have died this season from the flu.

"Those of us who can't get vaccinated, the very, very young, the very, very old, the very, very sick are also going to be those who are the most at risk of having complications or death from the flu," Dr. Schuessler said.

In addition to the flu, RSV is a respiratory virus that can cause severe disease in young children, and doctors say it's particularly bad this season.

Even so, people we spoke with have mixed opinions on whether getting the flu shot is a good idea.

Even though Chuck Harris just got over the flu, he doesn't want the shot.

"I still believe in acquired immunity. I think that people over-do the need for the flu shot," Harris said.

But others do see the benefits.

"Every time I go for my physicals, I always get it just for precautionary," Jeffrey Clark said.

The Department of Health recommends that everyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot. It also recommends good hand washing techniques and staying home and resting if you are sick.