Health Dept: Flu back in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The flu is back in Kentucky, according to a release by the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The release says state’s Department for Public Health and during testing found the first two laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza. The tests from cases in Jefferson and Kenton Counties.

Kentucky’s Department for Public Health sends reports weekly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of nationwide flu surveillance efforts. Kentucky’s flu activity is currently classified as “sporadic,” the lowest level indicating flu activity.

Kentucky’s flu season typically begins in October or early November. The Department for Public Health says people should get their flu vaccine as soon as possible, because it takes about two weeks for immunity to develop and offer protection against the flu.

“Getting the flu can be debilitating and sometimes life-threatening, and vaccination is the best tool we have to prevent illness. It’s also extremely important to take simple preventive steps to avoid it,” said Stephanie Mayfield, M.D., the commissioner of Kentucky’s Department for Public Health. “You should also follow the advice your parents gave you to prevent flu and other illnesses that tend to circulate at this time of year – wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and stay home when you’re sick.”

The best way to protect against the flu is to receive a flu vaccination. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals 6 months of age and older. People who are strongly encouraged to receive the flu vaccine because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences include:

  • Children age 6 months through 4 years
  • Pregnant women
  • People 50 years old or older
  • People aged 6 months and older with chronic health problems
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Health care workers, household contacts and caregivers or people who live with a person at high risk  for complications from the flu
  • Out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months old.

Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches. Flu can be very contagious. For more information on influenza or the availability of flu vaccine, please contact your local health department or go the state’s health alert website here.

If you live in Lexington, you could get a free flu shot. For more information on getting a free flu shot, click here.

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