By: Megan Palera
It's a mad rush to the pharmacy as people get vaccinated to stay safe during this intense flu season.
Let's face it - this flu season is bad; one of the worst. But when you look at the flu outbreak across the country, Nebraska is now of the healthier states.
In Boston, Mass. the city declared a state of emergency. So far, 18 flu-related deaths there and more than 700 people sick. In Pennsylvania, one hospital is so inundated with the flu that they've set up a special tent outside the emergency room to deal with those patients. And in Minnesota, almost a thousand confirmed cases of influenza.
"Please, we implore you to stay home when you are sick," said Cheri Lewer of the Minn. Dept. of Public Health.
Those words can't be stressed enough, even for us here in Nebraska. The flu situation is not so dire but still serious. Local pharmacists say the public is taking notice.
"People are more aware of what's going on in the media. They've been hearing a lot about the best way to protect themselves is getting the flu shot," said Dr. Monty Scheele.
At Four Star Drug in Lincoln, the flu shot is being administered by the dozen in the mornings now. Lancaster County has already had 2 deaths from the flu: a man in his 60s and a child. The virus is spreading fast, with nearly 300 confirmed cases of influenza in Nebraska.
"The difficult thing is you can actually be shedding virus before your symptoms," said Scheele.
If you do get a flu shot, keep in mind some of it starts working right away and takes about 2 weeks to be fully protected.