Flu activity in Kentucky now classified as widespread

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State health officials said the flu season came early to Kentucky this year and will continue for several months.

Thus far, there have been a total of six deaths and 262 hospitalizations associated with the flu since the start of the 2017-18 season.

During the week of December 3, Mountain States and Wellmont hospitals recorded 54 positive flu cases.

Influenza is a respiratory illness with symptoms that may include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.

A 73-year-old and an 80-year-old died after complications from the seasonal flu. The media reports are based on data coming out of Australia, where flu strains can be very different than those in New England according to Wu.

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The Department of Public Health and El Paso Fire Department held a vaccine clinic on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the EPFD's Safety and Health Outreach Center, 5415 Trowbridge Drive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us, however, that they still believe our flu vaccine is on track to be 39 percent effective, like previous year.

As a bonus, when you are vaccinated, you are contributing to the immunity of the "herd", meaning that the more members vaccinated the less the disease spreads and the greater the protection afforded to the younger and older members of the population.

Many Arkansans will be getting something they didn't really ask for this Christmas - the flu. Persons who develop flu symptoms should seek medical advice about the need for a medical evaluation or treatment with an antiviral drug, which could shorten the course of the illness or reduce its severity. "People should take appropriate precautions to protect themselves and prevent spreading the virus, such as washing their hands frequently, covering their cough and staying home if they are ill".

Consider over-the-counter medications. For example nasal decongestants can help unclog a stuffy nose; and antihistamines stop sneezing.