CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With the winter flu season upon us, health officials are strongly suggesting people get the flu shot.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is encouraging the people of Kentucky to get the flu shot during National Influenza Vaccination Week which begins Dec. 2 and lasts until Dec. 8.
"The flu vaccine is the single best way to protect you and your loved ones against the flu,” Commissioner of DPH Jeff Howard, M.D. “If you are vaccinated, you are less likely to get the flu and spread the flu to those at greatest risk for becoming dangerously ill, including young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and those with certain medical conditions. By getting vaccinated you are protecting your family and those people you cross paths with every day.”
DPH says National Influenza Vaccination Week is a reminder for those who have not received the vaccine yet to get vaccinated.
People can get vaccinated throughout the winter season, but DPH says they must remember it takes about two weeks for the body to develop protective antibodies against the flu after the vaccination has been taken.
DPH urges people to call providers or pharmacies for availability.
Christa Mitchell says she almost died the day after Christmas in 2017 due to complications starting from the flu.
“I’ve always been healthy and have never been prone to being sick. I didn’t get my flu shot,” Mitchell says. “My advice is simple: get your flu shot. Had I gotten a flu shot and then came down with the flu it would not have been as serious. As it turns out I have to deal with the impact of the flu for the rest of my life.”
DPH reported 118 lab cases for the 2018 to 2019 season, including two deaths.
During the week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and DPH will be educating Kentuckians on the importance of flu vaccinations, especially for those who are at high risk.
Those who are at high risk include infants, toddlers, pregnant women, people 50 years and older, and more.
“You should also follow the advice your parents gave you to prevent flu and other illnesses that tend to circulate at this time of year – wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home when you’re sick." Howard says.