• Allegheny County councilman spreading awareness about serious flu season


    As this season's serious flu spreads across Allegheny County, hospitals are packed.

    "We talked to the folks when I was admitted and they told me just a few weeks before that there wasn't an empty bed in the entire hospital,” said Allegheny County councilman at large, Sam Demarco. 

    Demarco spent six days in one of those beds recovering from pneumonia. 

    Now he's trying to warn others to take care of themselves.  

    "One of the things that I wanted to do once I got out was to share that experience on Facebook, to tell people how important it is that they take and make all reasonable efforts to try to prevent catching the flu or pneumonia or worse,” said Demarco. 


    Channel 11 told you this week that 14 people in the county have died from flu complications -- a number already higher than what was reported for all of last season. 

    Among those who have passed are some people in their 40s or younger. 

    "The fact that we're seeing it in younger people just speaks to how vicious this particular strain is and also I think in general people don't think those individuals would get that sick so they go home and we have tragedies like this,” said the director of the Allegheny Health Department, Dr. Karen Hacker. 

    Hacker told Channel 11 the flu vaccine was more successful in years past than it is with this year's most common strain. 

    Still -- she says -- you should get your shot if you haven't. 

    Demarco is on the mend.

    In his Facebook post he shared his sickness forced him to cancel plans to run for the state Legislature.

    So, for now, he's committed to serving Allegheny County. On Wednesday, that role included spreading awareness for this serious flu season.



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