Health officials see flu uptick in Tri

Hannah Rogers
January 7, 2018

Already this year is shaping up to be worse than then 2016-2017 flu season.

The numbers right now are much higher than previous year.

In a media update on Friday, Jan. 5 ODH said that in the last week of 2017 there were 925 new flu-associated hospitalizations which was up from 554 in the previous week.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map showed IL in the highest bracket for flu activity. "We've seen a 61 percent increase this week over the last week".

He said influenza is especially risky for the elderly, who are at greater risk of developing pneumonia or other complications along with the flu - conditions that could be fatal when combined.

Dr. Martha Buchanan, the director of the Knox County Health Department, said they are seeing more cases of the flu in Knox County.

Doctors blame an aggressive strain of the influenza virus, H3N2, and a flu vaccine that's proven to be only about 30 percent effective against it.

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According to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, flu cases have been confirmed in 12 of the 17 regions of Kentucky. These categories are persons who are age 6 months to 4 years; ages 65 and older; or have chronic disorders such as asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney disorders, liver disorders, neurological and neurodevelopment conditions, blood disorders, endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus) or metabolic disorders.

He says unless it's an emergency situation, people should either call their doctor or 8-1-1 to get some advice.

Cottage also reminds the community it is not too late to get a flu shot.

"The vaccine is the best protection there is against flu", he added.

"They need to protect that baby with a cocoon of people who are vaccinated around them so they are less likely to make that very vulnerable baby sick." she said.

To prevent the spread of the flu, Dougherty said, health care professionals recommend covering the mouth while coughing and sneezing, regularly washing hands and staying home if feeling sick.

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