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Kentuckians encouraged to get flu shots

Flu season can begin in early October

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 25, 2015) — Manufacturers have begun shipping flu vaccines for the 2015-2016 flu season and many locations are already administering the vaccination.

Vaccination protection influenza“Jane and I receive a flu shot each year at this time because we know it is the single most effective way to prevent the flu,” said Gov. Steve Beshear, who got his flu shot this week. “The availability and affordability of the vaccine make it easier than ever to protect yourself and your family.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot or nasal vaccine spray for all individuals 6 months of age and older. People who should especially receive the flu vaccine, because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences, include:

  • Children age 6 months through 4 years
  • Pregnant women
  • People 50 years old or older
  • People age 6 months and older with chronic health problems
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Health care workers
  • Household contact and caregivers of or people who live with a person at high risk for complications from the flu
  • Out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months old

The timing and duration of flu season varies but can begin as early as October and last as late as May. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop and offer protection against flu after receiving a vaccine. Vaccination can be given, however, any time during the flu season. Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches.

Health officials also urge Kentuckians to practice common sense precautions to prevent illness. Avoid close contact with those who are ill; stay home when sick; cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth; and wash hands frequently.