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Flu hitting our area hard

So far this flu season, there have been 72,000 cases statewide.

SAINT CLAIR, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health warns that the flu is widespread in the state right now.

In our area, the greatest number of cases have been in Luzerne, Schuylkill, Monroe and Lackawanna Counties, according to the Department of Health website.

We spoke with health experts about some common flu symptoms to look out for and what to do if you come down with the illness.

"The flu is what we're seeing here in Schuylkill County and the United States. The coronavirus, while it's something that's certainly newsworthy, at this point, fortunately, has isolated to China," said Dr. Mackenzie Mady, Lehigh Valley Health Network.

According to the Department of Health, of the 72,000 cases of the flu statewide, there have been more than 1,500 of them in Schuylkill County.

Newswatch 16 stopped by a Lehigh Valley Health Network clinic in St. Clair to speak with Dr. Mackenzie Mady about some warning signs to look out for.

"Some common flu symptoms include headaches, or some nasal symptoms, such as congestion or a runny nose. Certainly, you can have a cough, fever or the chills, body aches, and there can also be some symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea," Dr. Mady said.

Some prevention tips, including washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, and covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze.

Although many respect an individual's tireless work ethic, doctors say if you have the flu or flu symptoms, stay at home because it's very contagious.

"The current recommendation is to wait 24 hours until the fever has gone, and this is certainly without taking a fever-reducing medicines."

Dr. Mady said it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"Even if somebody does contract the flu, if they have the flu vaccine, the vaccine does reduce the severity of the flu illness itself."

You can get a flu shot at a variety of local pharmacies or with your family doctor. Flu season is expected to last until around May.