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As Reported Cases Spike, Health Officials Say It’s 'Never Too Late' For A Flu Shot

Scott A. Miller
AP Images for National Council on Aging and Sanofi Pasteur
FILE - Detail of a flu shot being administered

The flu is making rounds, and health officials across Washington say that 2017 is shaping up to be a severe season. 

“It’s never too late to get the flu shot," said Edie Jeffers, spokeswoman for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Each year, the flu vaccine is reformulated to match the latest strain of influenza.

"This year, it’s an especially good match for the flu that’s in circulation," she said. "So people that do get the flu shot, even if they do get sick, their symptoms are likely to be less severe, or they may skip getting sick altogether.”

Pierce County has seen four deaths from the flu so far this year. In King County, there have been eight deaths. And officials almost everywhere are seeing upticks in the number of cases, especially in the last week or two.

The illness is particularly hard on the very young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. In addition to getting a vaccine, officials say frequent hand washing can help. So can shielding your coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow, rather than your hands. 

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.