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Protect Yourself from Flu Through Holidays and in to New Year

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

If your holiday shopping or celebrations bring you to Florence, Newport, Covington or Williamstown, consider adding one more stop: make an appointment to get your flu vaccination at the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

“Getting a flu vaccine is simple, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from the flu,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “National Influenza Immunization Week is held each December because vaccination offers protection from the dangerous complications of flu through the holidays, the winter months and into the spring.”

The Health Department offers flu vaccine by appointment at its four county health centers, listed below.

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. The Health Department is offering 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.

“Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths,” said Saddler. “Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine.”

Through November 30, a total of 27 cases of flu had been reported to the Health Department. “This year, flu activity so far is what we would expect. Cases are slowly rising as we go through November and in to December,” said Saddler. “But influenza season is long and unpredictable, so it’s important to get vaccinated now.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that from the 1976 -1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. And each year, it’s estimated that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of flu-related complications.

Classic flu symptoms 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.

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Media representatives should contact Emily Gresham Wherle at 859.344.5470 or, 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.

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