Flu season starting earlier and hitting harder - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Flu season starting earlier and hitting harder

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- (WDRB) If you're at home with chills and a fever, you're not alone in your misery. The flu season is starting earlier and hitting harder. That's the word from the Centers for Disease Control.

Kentucky is not among the hardest hit states so far, but cases of the flu have begun to appear.

It's early, but Dr. Matthew Offutt is already seeing signs that it's going to be a rough flu season.

"We have seen a few cases of the flu in our practice. It hasn't been a big season yet, but we are anticipating that it will be increasing as everybody starts getting together and passing things around, especially during the holidays," said Offutt.

According to the Metro Dept. of Health and Wellness, the flu season in Louisville has begun early. So, far there have been more than 60 confirmed or suspected cases reported, and likely many more unreported.

"Primarily, the concern at this point is that we are seeing cases earlier in the flu season than we typically do," said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of the Metro Dept. of Public Health and Wellness. 

"It doesn't necessarily speak directly to a more virulent strain per se, we may see a total shift of the flu season. But we would anticipate that if we're seeing this many cases this early, that there could be more disease in the community and we need to make sure people get protected so that doesn't happen."

Doctors say the best way to combat the flu, is not to get it in the first place. Prevention is the key. Everyone age 6 months and older is encouraged to get a flu shot. Doctors say you should also wash you hands thoroughly and often. And if you feel sick, stay home.

And this year, there should be no shortage of the flu vaccine.

"From the CDC, we're getting good confirmation that we've got an adequate supply to make sure our population is vaccinated," said Nesbitt.

Around Dr. Offutt's office, there are lots of reminders that it's the season to be immunized.

"It takes about two weeks for the flu shots to have its immune response, so we recommend people getting them as early as they can," he said.

There are some people with chronic diseases or certain allergies that should not get a flu shot. That's why it's important to check with your doctor, first. If you don't have a doctor, the vaccine is available at any of the health department clinics.

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