Flu season hits early in Kentucky

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Flu cases are already starting to show up in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) says it has received reports on 10 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases. The cases are from Bullitt, Fayette, and Jefferson counties.

Flu season typically begins in October or November.

DPH officials are recommending people get the flu vaccine, and that people should not take it lightly.

"At the end of last year instead of flu cutting off like it typically does as winter ends we saw it kind of spread a little bit further into the warmer months as well," said Dr. Shawn Taylor, a pediatrician at A Caring Touch Pediatrics in Lexington.

Dr. Taylor says people really should consider washing their hands a few more times a day during the season, but she says the best thing to do is just to get a flu shot.

"Well the flu is always of concern as it can be a deadly illness. I think people in general take it a little too lightly," said Dr. Taylor. "It really comes down to when you are sick don't go to work. When you are sick don't go to school. Also even within your own household make sure that you are covering up when you cough."

People who are strongly encouraged to receive the flu vaccine because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences include:
• Children age six months through 59 months;
• Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season;
• Persons 50 years of age or older;
• Persons with extreme obesity (Body Mass Index of 40 or greater);
• Persons aged six months and older with chronic health problems;
• Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
• Household contacts (including children) and caregivers of children aged ≤59 months (i.e., aged • Household contacts and caregivers or people who live with a person at high-risk for complications from the flu; and
• Health care workers, including physicians, nurses, and other workers in inpatient and outpatient care settings, medical emergency-response workers (e.g., paramedics and emergency medical
technicians), employees of nursing home and long-term care facilities who have contact with patients or residents, and students in these professions who will have contact with patients.

The CDC is recommending that the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used this year because it has been shown to be ineffective.

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