Media contact: Emily Gresham Wherle, Public Information Administrator, 859.344.5470 or Emily.Gresham-Wherle@nkyhealth.org.
Monday, October 7, 2013
The 2012-2013 flu season was a reminder of how unpredictable flu can be. In Northern Kentucky, a total of 3,492 cases were reported, with eight deaths, making it the busiest season in the recent past. As the 2013-2014 flu season begins, the Health Department is reminding residents to protect themselves with a flu vaccination.
“When it comes to flu vaccine this year, you’ve got plenty of options,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “Certain flu vaccines can now protect against four strains of the virus, rather than the three previously offered. High-dose vaccines are available for seniors’ added protection. Even those who are allergic to eggs can find an egg-free vaccine this year. Anyone who is 6 months or older should seek out a flu vaccine this fall.”
The Health Department will offer a limited number of doses of flu vaccine by appointment at its four county health centers, listed below.
“The Health Department is just one of countless providers who offer flu vaccine each year,” said Saddler. “Employers, pharmacies and private physicians are all out there vaccinating residents for flu. We appreciate their help in making sure that Northern Kentucky residents are protected from a virus that can, and does, cause serious complications.”
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after they are administered. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. This year, the Health Department will administer flu shots which protect against four strains of the virus, rather than three strains as in prior years. Cost is $20, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay. Some may have the fees reduced and even eliminated through either a federal program providing vaccines to children or for individuals covered by Medicaid.
“Don’t let the winter months sneak up on you without finding a source for the vaccine,” said Saddler. “We need to get a flu vaccine each year for two reasons: first, the vaccine protects us against the viruses most likely to spread in the upcoming season, and second, a person’s immunity from vaccination can decline over time. A vaccine each year boosts that immunity back up, and provides the best possible protection.”
Influenza is a serious disease that results in tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations every year. The classic symptoms of influenza include sudden onset of chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, dry cough and extreme fatigue. Children who develop flu symptoms should not be treated with aspirin, as it can lead to Reye’s Syndrome.
For more information on the flu, please visit http://www.nkyhealth.org/Seasonal-Flu.aspx
# # #
Media representatives should contact Emily Gresham Wherle at 859.344.5470 or Emily.Gresham-Wherle@nkyhealth.org, about any request or information before calling any other Health Department employee. Your calls and requests will be handled expediently with your deadlines in mind. Thank you for your interest and support in educating the community about public health issues.
State of Kentucky News Releases
For statewide news releases, please visit the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.