LAUREL COUNTY, Ky (WYMT) - As we head into the weekend Kentucky is one of 45 states with the highest flu level widespread.
The Center for Disease Control estimated at least 9.7 billion flu illnesses this season.
"Typically the flu season in Kentucky is anywhere between October and May and it peaks between December and February," said Mark Hensely, Public Health Director for the Laurel County Health Department.
And doctors want you to be aware of your surroundings. "It's particularly contagious in cold weather actually plus people are clustered together inside when it gets cold," said Dr. David Worthy, Chief Medical Officer at Baptist Health Corbin.
While some believe you are only contagious once flu symptoms begin, doctors say it begins about 48 hours before. What are those symptoms?
"Some of the symptoms of the flu are fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, headaches and things of that nature," said Hensley.
Because the flu is highly contagious, your illness can spread by simply coughing or sneezing. The flu is spread by respiratory droplets when you cough those droplets become airborne.
As you get older your immune system gets weaker.
"Near bout, 90 percent of the deaths from the flu are in the elderly population," said Worthy. With children ranking second on that list, the CDC reports at least one person 18 years or younger already died this flu season.
But remember, it is not too late to get vaccinated.
"They're 25 dollars without insurance and if you have insurance...Medicare, Medicaid or Anthem there's no cost at all," said Hensley.