Health officials say flu activity starting before official flu season – WYMT News

Health officials say flu activity starting before official flu season – WYMT News

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) – Laurel County Health Department officials say flu activity has been seen in other parts of the country early this year.

Officials say there have already been reported cases and deaths. Those reported numbers only include lab-confirmed cases.

Those cases came early this year, as the official flu season does not start until September 26th, and cases are usually seen from October through May.

“Last year in Laurel County we had 7 confirmed cases. And, in the state of Kentucky, we had 17,665. And, a total of 189 deaths throughout the Commonwealth,” said Mark Hensley, Executive Director of the Laurel County Health Department.

Laurel County was amongst some of the lowest numbers in the state. Hensley said he attributes that, in large part, to the number of people vaccinated.

Some of the ways people can also reduce the spread of the flu is to wash their hands and cover their mouths when coughing.

However, the number one way to prevent passing the flu is through vaccination. Officials say it is important that everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated.

“You have that vulnerable population from birth to six months that there is no vaccine for. So, especially those care-takers, to be sure that they are vaccinated,” said Carolee Epperson, Nursing Administrator.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that there was a delay in selecting a specific strand for the vaccine and did not know how it would affect vaccine availability.

However, the health department did say that it expects to have a shipment in the next few days. It urges locals to get vaccinated as soon as they become available.

Hensley says most of the flu vaccines given at the health department are covered by insurance, but if not, they are $25.

If anyone suspects they may have the flu, they are to contact their doctor immediately. If their physician is not available, they are told to go to an urgent care clinic.

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