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Flu season is serious business

My normal work attire is dress pants, a button-down shirt and jacket, with a tie as needed, but I may need to make a drastic change. I’m looking at something in the all-white or yellow shade … of the hazmat suit variety. 

That may be the only way to stay healthy this flu season as the virus sweeps through the region. 

I’ve already got staff members quarantined at home, hand sanitizer by the 50-gallon drum and Lysol in spray cans the size of scuba tanks. 

All jokes aside, this really is no laughing matter at all. But humor is how I deal with things that scare me. To quote musician Jimmy Buffett, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”

Recent reports from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services show the flu is still widespread with more than 2,000 cases this year compared to less than 100 for the same period last year. More than 50 people have died from flu or related illnesses. 

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families. These personal losses are a reminder for all of us that flu can be a serious illness, for young and old alike,” Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard, Acting Commissioner for the Department for Public Health, said in a prepared statement. “We strongly encourage people to protect themselves, particularly children 6 months and older and those people at high risk for complications related to the flu. Stay at home if they have the flu or flu-like symptoms and to avoid contact with others.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu-related hospitalizations ranging between 140,000 and 710,000 and flu-related deaths ranging between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths have occurred annually since 2010. Signs and symptoms of flu typically occur very suddenly and intensely are fever (usually high), headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children).

All we can do is follow the advice of health professionals and hope for the best. We have shared some important information about how to improve your chances of staying healthy this season but here is a link to the Centers for Disease Control summary in case you missed it. 

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

This year’s influenza virus seems to be particularly strong and can work its way through a family quickly. 

A local banker told me he sent an employee home recently “before she takes out the whole branch.”

So, take it serious. Listen to health experts. Be proactive. 

Those steps will give us all the best chance of staying healthy this winter. 

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. He can be reached at (859) 469-6452 or by email at mike.caldwell@jessaminejournal.com.