For months, public health officials have been urging people to get immunized against strains of influenza that had been expected to strike the United States this year. Get protected before the bug arrives, they said.
It may well have reached West Virginia and Ohio.
Public health agencies in some areas of West Virginia are reporting an upsurge in cases of the flu. A dramatic increase has been reported in Ohio, with most cases in the state's northeast quadrant. That is not particularly surprising, given heavy flu activity in some nearby states, including Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Most healthy people recover from the flu after a few days of feeling really awful. It is common for a few days of work to be missed. That is bad enough.
But for those whose resistance is lowered, sometimes including the very young and older people, flu can be life threatening.
Advice earlier this year to get immunized was good. If you did not take it then, we encourage you to do so now. Keep in mind that it can take as long as two weeks after getting a shot for the vaccine to become fully effective.
Flu shots can be obtained at reasonable cost throughout our area. Some health insurance covers it entirely.
Again, a full-scale flu epidemic has not reached our area yet - but it may be on its way. It is not too late to be ready to beat the bug.