Chilly weather could be contributing to the state's 'widespread' flu epidemic

Frederick Owens
December 28, 2017

The 12 states with widespread activity are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Separately, the agency said the number of flu-like illness cases increased 16 percent last week, with a total of 77,444 cases reported nationwide and 14 cases of serious flu complications confirmed.

Winter has officially arrived, and the flu season has been ramping up locally.

Since flu season officially kicked off in October, experts have voiced concerns that this could be an especially brutal one, based on what's been happening in the Southern Hemisphere, which typically gets the flu first.

The CDC advises everyone older than six months of age get the flu shot if they aren't allergic. "And our flu numbers are very much mirroring that pattern". "So it can still reduce the severity of your symptoms and the duration of your symptoms so even if you get it it's not as bad as it could have been".

"Many healthy people that get the flu say it feels like they have been hit by a train", Mallory Swartzentruber, the public health educator for the Daviess County Health Department, said.

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The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services recommends that you cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. Representatives of Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties (PHDM) and OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital and Medical Group shared information on the flu - and on steps people can take to limit its spread. It is also impossible for the yearly vaccine to include all possible strains of the virus you may be exposed to that season, so you may still become infected with a strain of the virus that is different from the strains in your flu shot. It is important for those with weaker immune systems, pregnant women, patients with chronic conditions and young children to all receive the vaccination and protect themselves from powerful influenza strains.

"The supply of Trivalent Influenza vaccine is expected this week and will be available for distribution on Friday 29th December, pending cold chain clearance".

The cost of the vaccine is $10 for adults and children. Kentuckians are advised to call before arriving for a vaccination.

As the New Year quickly approaches, so will peak flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Brownfield wants it understood that just because the now active strain of influenza is not responding well to this year's flu vaccine, the vaccine protects against four varieties, not just one.

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