Ky. health officials: Flu season prolonged, some areas reporting heavy case load

mmeehan1@herald-leader.comMarch 27, 2013 

A flu shot was given at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department's Free Flu Friday event held at the Imani Family Life Center, 1555 Georgetown Road, in Lexington Oct. 12, 2012. The Health Department gave away as many as 2,000 free flu shots in the annual event. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff

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Health officials say there is still time to get a flu shot as the flu season, which began early this year, lingers.

Flu season typically peaks in mid-February, but people are continuing to get sick in Central Kentucky.

"This has been a heavier flu season than we've had in several years," said Gwenda Bond, spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. "We could continue to see cases through May. People should consider getting a flu shot if they haven't and/or pneumococcal vaccine if they are at risk for complications from pneumonia."

The flu activity levels for states are tracked weekly as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's national flu surveillance system. Kentucky continues to see significant flu activity, although the level varies regionally.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department is reporting the busiest flu season ever, with more than 3,000 cases and five reported deaths. According to a news release from the Northern Kentucky Health Department, one in four recent flu cases has required hospitalization.

In Fayette County, however, the numbers are close to normal.

"It's been a fairly typical flu season for us," said Kevin Hall, spokesman for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

Flu shots are available through local health departments and some drug stores.

In addition to getting a flu shot, the CDC recommends common sense measures such as frequent hand-washing, staying away from people who are sick, staying at home when you have flu-like symptoms, and covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.

Mary Meehan: (859) 231-3261. Twitter: @bgmoms. Blog: BluegrassMoms.com.

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