CDC, Ky. Dept. of Health encourage flu shots ahead of season

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ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) - The Centers for Disease Control on Thursday kicked off their flu vaccination campaign in Washington, beginning to urge people to get their flu shots.

The Kentucky Department of Health is also urging people to get their flu shots, as well, because there have already been 154 lab-confirmed cases of the flu in the commonwealth since Aug. 4.

The CDC strongly encourages children between six months and five years old, women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, people age 50 and over, people struggling with obesity, people with chronic health problems and residents of long-term care facilities among others to get the flu shot because they may be a little more susceptible to the flu.

While the flu is easily treatable, it can be deadly.

“It can be deadly and each year we have folks of all ages that do die from the flu,” King’s Daughters Medical Center physician Mark Detherage said. “Thankfully it's fairly preventable. The things that we learned last year are really things that we apply every year and that is, number one, to be sure to get vaccinated early and as far as the types of vaccines, there are several out there but we encourage everyone to talk to their provider about which one is the right vaccine for you.”

The CDC and the Kentucky Department of Health is encouraging people to receive their flu shots before the end of October.

“It takes a few weeks for the vaccine to become effective, so you want to vaccinate before there's a lot of widespread flu activity so that once you get exposed to it, because at some point during the season, you probably will, then you'll already be protected,” Connie Wilburn of the Greenup County Health Department said.

Flu season officially begins on Sunday and will last until mid-May.