Flu activity has recently reached a widespread level for the state of Kentucky. The Gateway region is reporting two adult deaths with influenza (flu) as a suspected cause, but be aware that seasonal influenza may also lead to death from other causes or cause pre-existing illness or conditions to worsen. The public should be reminded that it is not too late to protect yourself against the flu.
Vaccines are still available at your local health department, local healthcare providers and health centers. In addition, flu vaccines are once again available through your child’s school nurse if they attend school in Bath, Menifee, Morgan or Rowan County Schools. While vaccination cannot guarantee that you won’t get the flu, it is the best chance at avoiding and/or lessening the severity of illness from the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age or older.
The flu vaccine is strongly recommended for:
- Healthcare workers
- Caregivers of children under 6 months-old
- Adults older than 50 years old
- Children younger than 5 years old
- Anyone staying in a long-term care facility
- Native Americans and Alaskan Natives
- Anyone with chronic health conditions and their caregivers. Chronic health conditions include but are not limited to: Cancer, Lung Disease, Pregnant Women, Cardiovascular Disease, Morbid Obesity, Immunosuppressed.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to develop in your body which protect against the flu, so get vaccinated as soon as possible.
It is also very important that we all take everyday steps to prevent the spread of illness, such as washing your hands and avoiding sick people. If you are sick with the flu, stay home and minimize contact with others. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and get plenty of rest. Underlying health conditions, particularly those that weaken the immune system, can worsen the severity of the flu. Be physically active, eat foods high in nutrition and drink plenty of fluids to boost your immune function.