The Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), reports the state’s first pediatric deaths for the 2017-18 flu season.

•Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families. These personal losses are a reminder for all of us that flu can be a serious illness, for young and old alike. We strongly encourage people to protect themselves, particularly children 6 months and older and those people at high risk for complications related to the flu. Stay at home if they have the flu or flu-like symptoms and to avoid contact with others,” added Howard.

(provided by Cabinet for Health and Family Services for Kentucky)

“The most common flu strain identified in Kentucky and in the 36 deaths is Influenza A,” added Department for Public Health’s State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jonathan Ballard. “Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu. Recently the CDC issued a health advisory advising clinicians that antiviral treatment that all hospitalized and high-risk persons with suspected influenza should be treated with antiviral medications, and that benefits are observed even when treatment is initiated beyond 2 days of illness onset. The flu season typically runs until late spring so it is not too late to get vaccinated.”

Another result of the harsh flu season is the number of influenza outbreaks in Kentucky’s long-term care facilities. There has already been 49 outbreaks reported this season. The traditional flu season lasts from October through May.

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