MEDIA ADVISORY: It may feel like summer, but flu season starts sooner than you think

September 27, 2019


Contact: Laura Brinson

It may feel like summer, but flu season starts sooner than you think


FLORENCE, Ky. — With the continued high temperatures, it may still feel like summer outside, but flu season is just around the corner. To stay protected, now is the time to get your flu shot.

Seasonal flu viruses can be detected year-round in the U.S. In fact, many cases are already being reported throughout Northern Kentucky. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, and your loved ones, from the flu. According to NKY Health’s District Director of Health, Lynne Saddler, MD, MPH, timing is important. “What many people don’t realize is that after the shot, it takes about two weeks to build up your immunity to fight off the flu virus. This means that people should get vaccinated now, before flu season gets into full swing.”

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and tiredness. For many people, the flu can make them feel miserable, with symptoms lasting 5-7 days. For some groups, including very young children, pregnant women, people ages 65 and older, and people with certain health conditions, the flu can cause very serious illness and can even be life-threatening.

Flu shots are available in our region now, and Medicaid, Medicare and most private health insurance providers cover flu vaccination as a preventive service. You can visit your health care provider, or the many pharmacies and clinics in Northern Kentucky offering the flu shot. The Health Department is also offering flu vaccines by appointment at its four county health centers. For location information, visit https://nkyhealth.org/contact-us/locations/county-health-centers/. The shot costs $25, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay. NKY Health also accepts Medicaid and participates in the Vaccines for Children program.

Other strategies to prevent the spread of the flu include washing your hands frequently with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose with your arm or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding others if you do get sick.

During the last flu season, 6,514 cases of the flu were reported in Northern Kentucky, but this does not predict how this year’s season will be, as every year is different. According to Lynne Saddler, MD, MPH, “Even if you had the flu shot last year, this year’s flu could be a different strain, so you need to get another flu shot this year.”

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The Northern Kentucky Health Department provides high-quality public health services to more than 400,000 residents of Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties, with a goal of preventing disease, promoting wellness and protecting against health threats. The Health Department seeks to be a nationwide leader in public health, and was one of the first in the country to earn national public health accreditation. For more information, visit www.nkyhealth.org