KentuckyOne Health Offers Tips to Stay Well as Flu Season Peaks
Louisville, Ky. (October 15, 2014)— The delights of fall—changing leaves, cooling temperatures and the return of football season— are accompanied by an unwanted guest: the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately five to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu each year.
Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and last through April or May. While activity commonly peaks between December and February, people are encouraged to be vaccinated when the flu vaccine becomes available, ideally by October. Early vaccinations help ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.
“Flu season is unpredictable,” said Josh Bentley, KentuckyOne Health Primary Care Associates. “The best protection is early vaccination. Everyone six months of age and older should receive the flu shot.”
Each year, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the main flu viruses that research suggests will be the most common during the upcoming season. This year’s vaccine is designed to protect against the following three viruses: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus; A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus; and B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.
According to the CDC, last year the flu hit young adults and middle-aged adults harder than usual as those age groups accounted for a larger portion of cases than in previous years.
Certain populations are at higher risk for the flu, including young children, older adults and adults with conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease. The vaccination rate among adults with these conditions is around 46 percent, according to the CDC, yet this group accounts for most of the hospitalizations and deaths from the flu.
New this year, the CDC is recommending the use of the nasal spray vaccine (LAIV) for healthy children ages two through eight, when it is available. Recent studies suggest that the nasal spray flu vaccine may work better than the flu shot in young children. However, parents are discouraged from delaying vaccination to find the nasal spray flu vaccine. If the nasal spray is unavailable, a flu shot is recommended.
“The flu is contagious and you may be able to infect others a day before symptoms develop and up to a week after becoming sick,” said Dr. Bentley. “In addition to getting vaccinated, stepping up everyday preventative actions, such as hand washing and other wellness habits, and avoiding close contact with sick people can help reduce the spread of the flu.”
Schedule your flu vaccination today. To find a primary care provider near you, visit www.kentuckyonehealth.org.
For video of Dr. Bentley answering questions and a patient receiving a flu shot go to http://youtu.be/bq8bzrJiUak .
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health, the largest and most comprehensive health system in the Commonwealth, has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies in Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is dedicated to bringing wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved. The system is made up of the former Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System, along with the University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. KentuckyOne Health is proud of and strengthened by its Catholic, Jewish and academic heritages.