"We are still in the middle of flu season and with more flu cases on the rise we need to do everything that we possibly can to protect ourselves, our families and the people around us," says William Melahn, M.D., SCR vice president of medical affairs. "We are seeing an elevation in the number of flu cases across the Bluegrass State, and much of it is due to the actual strain of flu, H3N2 Flu-type "A", that has been most prevalent."
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that the flu vaccine is only 23 percent effective this year among people of all ages primarily because it doesn't provide protection against the H3N2 that is making most people sick. According to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Kentucky has had 43 influenza-related deaths since this year's flu season began early last September.
"Despite the decreased effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine, everyone six months and older should still get a flu shot as the vaccine can still prevent against other strains of influenza", says Dr. Melahn. Those who have the highest risk for flu are very young children (under two years of age), adults ages 65 and older and those who have underlying medical conditions."
Dr. Melahn also says that good hygiene habits can also help to prevent the spread of flu at home, work and school. We should be taking simple everyday precautions like avoiding close contact with people who are sick, washing your hands thoroughly and often, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as these things increase the spread of viruses. Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from the flu.