Flu season upon us; vaccines can save lives

Published 6:41 pm Thursday, September 26, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

Flu season usually begins in October, but state health officials are warning this year’s flu season could come earlier and last longer. In the process, officials predict the virus could impact more people this year, too.

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According to a press release from the Kentucky Department for Public Health, the season is predicted to begin Sept. 29 and run through May 16. Already, there have been 154 laboratory-confirmed cases of the influenza virus since Aug. 4.

This comes on the heels of the longest flu season the nation experienced last year. According to the CDC, there were more than 647,000 flu-related hospitalizations and more than 61,000 people died as a result of the virus. In Kentucky, there were 194 flu-related deaths. Two were children.

The flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and some cases of vomiting or diarrhea. It can result in hospitalization and even death.

The best way to prevent the spread of the flu is through a vaccine. The CDC is recommending everyone 6 months or older get the vaccine before the end of October to protect against the virus.

You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in your community since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu.

Getting the vaccine can prevent and reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed school and work and flu-related hospitalizations.

Flu vaccination has also been shown in several studies to reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

You can get the flu vaccine at your primary care provider, the health department and at many pharmacies and community medical clinics.

Getting the vaccine can protect you and those around you.