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Flu season is here

Last flu season was marked as high severity for the flu.  So, what will this flu season look like?  Currently, the flu activity level is considered sporadic.  This means small numbers of lab confirmed flu cases or a single lab confirmed flu outbreak has been reported but there is no increase of influenza-like illness.  Last year, Jessamine County had 168 cases of confirmed flu and five deaths.  To date for this year, Jessamine County has zero cases but Kentucky has had one confirmed death currently due the flu for this season. 

Flu is a serious contagious disease. However, we can all try to prevent the flu by taking three simple actions.

Take time to get a flu vaccine. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs such as, trying to avoid close contact with sick people, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands often with soap and water and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs. Also, take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

As per CDC, if children are younger than six months old and are at a higher risk of serious flu complications but are too young to get a flu vaccine, it is important to safeguard them from the flu. Hence, if you live with or care for an infant younger than six months old you should get a flu vaccine to help protect them from the flu. Everyone else that has close contact with the baby should also be vaccinated. Studies have shown repeatedly that flu vaccination of the mother during pregnancy can protect the baby after birth from the flu infection for several months.

Preventative actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands can help reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading the flu to others. 

                                                           

Rudrani Ghosh is the regional epidemiologist at the Jessamine County Health Department.