It’s still fairly early in the flu season, but the Madison County Health Department is being proactive in its efforts to keep flu cases down this year.
“The flu vaccine is available widely in our community,” said Christie Green, health department spokesperson. “In the past, we have had some shortages of the vaccine, but this year we have big numbers available. The best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine and to always wash your hands.”
Two flu cases already have been confirmed in Louisville, which makes Kentucky one of four states showing flu activity, Green added.
“Of the cases that have been confirmed, 58 percent have been type A, and 41 percent have been type B,” she said. “Since we can never be sure which flu will affect us, Madison County has stockpiled vaccines for both types. One vaccine prevents three flu types, and the other protects against four.”
Globally, anyone can catch the flu any time during the year. However, flu activity increases from August through March. According to Green, the health department monitors the flu all year, but stocks more vaccine for the main flu season.
“In the past, we’ve had some flu seasons start early,” she said. “But we typically don’t see an increase in the flu for Kentucky until December. We ordered more vaccines this week just to make sure we have enough to fill the community’s need.”
A high-dosage vaccine is recommended for adults over age 65, Green said.
“I would encourage people to call ahead to their provider before they go to be vaccinated and make sure the appropriate type is on hand,” she said.