Recognize the signs of influenza

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— Submitted for publication by SOAR

PIKEVILLE — The Kentucky Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), now describes influenza activity in Kentucky as an epidemic.

The flu (influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by various influenza viruses.  Serious outcomes of the flu can lead to hospitalization and even death if not properly treated.  The flu is most common in the fall and winter and peaks in the months of December through February.

The most common flu type identified in Kentucky is influenza A.  It has resulted in 78 percent of the 65 influenza-associated deaths this season, according to the CHFS. Of those deaths, 7 percent were identified as influenza A.

Signs and symptoms of the flu are: cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and in some cases vomiting and diarrhea.

People with the flu can spread it to other up to six feet away, so it is important to stay vigilant and learn how to protect yourself and your family from the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested guidelines to best protect yourself against this crisis. The flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, and it’s not too late to get vaccinated. It is important to understand that after receiving the vaccination it takes two weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body to protect against the flu.

 Here are additional prevention tips from the CDC website:

•Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

•While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

•If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).

•Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

•Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

•Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

•Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

For more information on the flu epidemic, visit http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/Influenza.htm or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. For more information on Shaping Our Appalachian Region’s public health initiatives around obesity, diabetes, and substance use disorder in Appalachia Kentucky, contact Williams at vyj4@cdc.gov or call 606-766-1160.

 

— Submitted for publication by SOAR