MARSHALL COUNTY - While the flu season typically begins in October or November, the first reported cases in Kentucky were documented in late August.
Despite the early start this year, health officials say they cannot predict how severe the season will be. Kentuckians are encouraged to get a flu vaccine as soon as their health provider has it in stock, as it takes about two weeks for immunity to develop and offer protection against flu. However, vaccination can be given any time during the flu season.
Vaccinations are now available at the Marshall County Health Department. Walk-in flu clinics are being held every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $25 for adults and $14 for children. Representative from the health department say most insurances can be billed for the vaccinations. Those in need of more information can call 270-527-1496.
The best way to protect against the flu is to receive a flu vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals more than 6 months of age. People who should especially receive the flu vaccine because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences include:
• Children age 6 months to 19 years;
• Pregnant women;
• People 50 years old or older;
• People of any age with chronic health problems;
• People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
• Health care workers;
•Caregivers of or people who live with a person at high risk for complications from the flu; and
•Out-of-home caregivers of or people who live with children less than 6 months old.
Kentuckians should receive a new flu vaccination each season for optimal protection. Healthy, non-pregnant people age 2-49 years can be vaccinated with either the flu shot or the nasal vaccine spray. Children younger than 9 years old who did not receive a flu vaccination during the last flu season should receive a second dose four or more weeks after their first vaccination.
Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches. Flu is a very contagious disease caused by the flu virus, which spreads from person to person.
Approximately 23,000 deaths due to seasonal flu and its complications occur on average each year in the U.S., according to recently updated estimates from the CDC.