Flu activity in Kentucky now classified as widespread

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky is now reporting widespread flu activity across the state. The Department of Public Health made the announcement on Thursday. The widespread designation means there's an increase in flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state.

The traditional flu season begins in October and lasts until May. Cases began showing up earlier this season than usual in Kentucky. Because of that, state health officials expect increase flu activity to continue for several months.

"With current widespread flu activity being reported in Kentucky, it is a still a good time to protect yourself and your family by getting a flu shot," said acting DPH commissioner Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard in a news release. "The Department for Public Health is strongly urging anyone who hasn't received a flu vaccine, particularly children 6 months and older and those people at high risk for complications related to the flu, to check with local health departments or other providers about getting the vaccine."

It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect. Those most a risk for flu complications include young children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.

In Corbin, so many teachers at Little Lambs Pre School within the Grace on the Hill Church were sick, administrators decided to shutdown the school on Thursday. Gus Clouse with the church hopes the break will clear the air of the sickness.

“Hopefully that five day swing will help to get the folks feeling better. We have been down there cleaning and that will help also," Clouse said.

Doctors say although cleaning can keep the illness away, with the holiday around the corner and families coming together, the threat of catching the flu comes at a greater risk.

"We are going to see more because families are getting together, tighter quarters. People trading off things," Says Dr. Ryan Stanton with Baptist Health. "We saw a big spike after Thanksgiving. We will see another spike with the Christmas holiday.”

The Centers for Disease Control says the following steps can help stop the spread of the flu and keep you from getting sick.

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

    You can see a weekly update on Kentucky's flu activity. Just click the link attached to this article. It is updated each Friday at noon.

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