Flu season is upon us and has not been shy about making its presence known in the Louisville area. The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has classified the flu as “Widespread” for both KY and IN. The flu season is considered to run from October through February (when it peaks) but has been known to run into early spring. Annually, 5-20% of the U.S. population contracts the flu and up to 200,000 people end up in the hospital with complications such as pneumonia and dehydration.
So, what can be done to protect you and your family from contracting the flu?
The best way to avoid the flu is to use preventive measures, such as:
- Thorough hand washing;
- Covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow, not your hand!);
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose with your hands after touching things such as door knobs, door handles, etc.; and
- Get a flu shot.
So, is it too late to get a flu shot?
Visit Flu Vaccine Finder and enter your zip code to find locations that still have flu vaccines available.
There is still vaccine at local health department locations as well, although they suggest calling each location to confirm availability and to make an appointment. The four community sites that have immunizations available for infants six months older and up are:
Dixie Health Center
7219 Dixie Highway
Neighborhood Place East Health Center
810 Barret Ave
Middletown Health Center
200 Juneau Drive
Newburg Health Center
4810 Exeter Avenue
Immunization costs will be $25 for injectable (shot) vaccine and $35 for nasal mist. Pediatric preservative-free vaccine will be $25, intradermal vaccine will be $35 and high-dose vaccine for those age 65 older will be $40. Passport and Medicare insurance plans are accepted and no one will be turned away because of inability to pay. For those with private insurance, many plans offer the flu shots with little to no copayment, so be sure to check your coverage.
Some people are at higher risk of contracting the flu or of suffering complications if they get the flu. These populations are:
- Pregnant women;
- Children below five years of age;
- Adults 50 years of age or older;
- People with certain chronic medical conditions;
- People who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities; and
- People who live with or are caregivers for adults at risk for flu complications; and
- Health care workers.
For more information, visit:
**Contact your family doctor or other qualified health practitioner if you have questions about the flu and your family’s specific health requirements.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Ocskay Bence