Health Officials: Tough flu season expected in Kentucky

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)- State health officials are becoming concerned after they say a tough flu season could be right around the corner.

"We are well-prepared for this flu season."

Dr. Jonathan Ballard is the State Epidemiologist. He says because of how the southern hemisphere was affected by the flu, lies a good indication on how it could hit the United States this coming winter.

"We saw in Australia that they had three times the number of cases and three times the number of deaths from flu," says Dr. Ballard.

Australia experiences winter while North America is in summer and vice-versa. Officials say our trends with the flu normally mimic theirs.

So far, three cases of the flu have been confirmed in Kentucky. Doctors are using these cases as an example on why getting your flu shot a little earlier this year is a good idea.

"The strains in the flu shot this year are the same strains that we're seeing in Australia," says Dr. Ballard. "We are confident that the flu vaccine will be effective."

He says that young children and older adults are the most susceptible to catching the flu and should get their flu shots earlier than most would expect. Doctors along with Ballard say with simple tips, the possibility of catching the flu this season could be decreased.

"Covering your mouth, washing your hands, and staying home if you're sick. Basic things that everyone should do to protect themselves and protect others from getting the flu."

Officials say the public should have no problems receiving vaccines. They say vaccines are ready to be given at doctors offices, health departments, and other agencies across the state.

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