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"Focus on Flu" Campaign Aims to Prevent Repeat of Last Year's Deadly Season

The Northern Kentucky Health Department announced Wednesday that it is taking part in the statewide "Focus on Flu" campaign to help prevent a repeat of last year's large-scale flu season.

In the previous season, 10,500 people across the state - including 6,500 in Northern Kentucky, were affected. 325 people died, 30 in Northern Kentucky.

 Focus on Flu urges Kentuckians to get their flu shots starting Wednesday, September 26 -  Kentucky Flu Shot Day - or at least by the end of October, for maximum protection.

“Flu is what we call an equal opportunity infector—anyone can get the flu,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health with the Northern Kentucky Health Department. “For some people, the flu is miserable, requiring days off school or work, and suffering through a fever and aches and pains.”

For other groups—including very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions—the flu can cause very serious illness and can even be life-threatening. “Getting vaccinated will protect not only you, but also those at risk around you,” said Saddler. “In fact, it’s the best protection we have. Now is the time to talk to your health care provider about vaccination.”

In addition to boosting flu vaccinations, the campaign is focused on other important flu prevention strategies. These strategies emphasize preventing the spread of flu by 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.

The Health Department is offering flu vaccines by appointment at its four county health centers.

The shot costs $25, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay. The health department also accepts Medicaid and participates in the Vaccine for Children program.

Medicare and most private health insurance providers also cover flu vaccination as a preventive service. While the Health Department will vaccinate anyone who wishes to receive it, individuals with private insurance or Medicare may want to consider getting vaccinated by their health care provider or any of the pharmacies and clinics in Northern Kentucky.

-Staff report

Image via KMA