Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Flu Activity Level Returns to Regional in Kentucky

Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) officials reported regional activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today, following a brief drop to the lower local level of activity. Regional activity is the second highest level of activity, and is defined as outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like illness and recent laboratory confirmed influenza in at least two but less than half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in those regions.

The activity levels for states are tracked weekly as part of the CDC’s national flu surveillance system. Kentucky continues to see significant flu activity continuing this season, and urges people to practice good hygiene such as frequent handwashing, staying home when ill and covering their cough or sneeze.

The flu season can begin as early as October and last through May, and usually peaks between January and March. There is still time to get vaccinated against the flu. While it takes about two weeks for immunity to develop and offer protection against flu, illness continues to circulate in the state and it is not too late to receive a flu shot.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends flu vaccine for all individuals 6 months of age and older. People who are especially encouraged to 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.

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. 

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