PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Flu is acting like word of mouth for the flu shot in southern Ohio.
People who know someone battling the virus are now rushing to get a shot to try and protect themselves.
"It's better to prevent it that to treat it," says Fruth Pharmacist Joe Johnson. "Especially in the last couple of weeks, it seems like flu's been hitting the population around here."
The Ohio Department of Health sent out a health alert Friday afternoon. The department says a flu shot, statistically, is your best defense. In a written statement it says:
“The flu virus will be less likely to spread if more people are vaccinated,” said ODH Director, Dr. Ted Wymyslo. “Immunization has proven to be the safest and most effective way to fight the flu so I encourage all Ohioans to get vaccinated. Moreover, it takes two weeks to build up immunity after receiving the vaccine, which is another reason to get immunized as soon as possible.”
Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
Influenza should not be taken lightly. Although most people fully recover from the flu, a small portion of people do experience severe illness (like pneumonia and respiratory failure), and sometimes the flu can be fatal.
Anyone who becomes ill with the flu and is pregnant, has an underlying medical condition or experiences a particularly severe form of the illness should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
In Ohio, as in the rest of the country, most of the flu circulating now is H1N1, which disproportionately affects young and middle-aged adults. However, seasonal flu viruses may become more prominent as the season continues. This year’s vaccine contains both H1N1 and seasonal flu strains, so those who become immunized will have an increased degree of protection against multiple kinds of flu.
Jean Hatfield lives in Wheelersburg, Ohio, and is finally feeling a little better. She says it wasn't the Grinch, but rather the flu that stole Christmas at her house.
"I even put a sign up, I still have it on our front door," Hatfield said. "It says, 'We've been exposed to flu and enter at your own risk.' "