Flu cases on the rise in Kentucky

Flu cases on the rise in Kentucky
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 11:25 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Flu cases are on the rise in Kentucky.

In the last week, the number of confirmed flu cases has more than doubled.

Health officials have a lot of factors that they look at to estimate what our flu season will look like and, right now, a lot of those factors are pointing to one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory.

“Southern Hemisphere, Australia they had a worse flu season, so that’s typically a good indicator of what might happen to us, but there’s a lot of reasons this year,” said Dr. Jeff Foxx, Lexington physician. You know, we’re returning to the workplace, we’re not wearing masks, we’ve cut down on our social distancing. So, all of those things make us more prone.”

So far, in the 2022-2023 flu season, there have been 329 confirmed cases, which means laboratory-confirmed flu cases. In the last week of data, which is for the week of October 16-22, we’ve registered 286 of those cases.

The state has jumped from a sporadic flu level, which is the second lowest level, to widespread, the highest level, just in the last week. Cases are on the rise in every county in the Commonwealth.

Another concern is who is catching the flu.

The state data shows that children ages one to 10 are by far the most likely to get sick, and Dr. Foxx says that’s concerning.

“In COVID, we did a lot of masking, we were isolated, we did a lot of protection from COVID and that led to decreased exposure to the flu,” said Dr. Foxx. “You know, very young kids they didn’t develop antibodies to the flu, they weren’t exposed to the flu. So, two years of no exposure to all of a sudden you’re exposed, you’re more likely to catch the flu.”

Health departments in Central Kentucky have all been telling us the same thing: cases are on the rise and, if you haven’t yet, you need to get your flu shots.

Several health departments, like Fayette County and Madison County, are offering those shots at their offices.

Dr. Foxx says that if you get sick there are over-the-counter medications that your doctor can prescribe for flu and for covid, but he says that getting your shots is the best way to keep yourself from getting seriously ill.

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