Flu season begins

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By Bryan Marshall

A year after the highest ever number of cases were reported in northern Kentucky, the flu season is back again.
Flu monitoring for the 2013-2014 season began Sept. 29, however, Emily Gresham Wherle, public information administrator for the Northern Kentucky Health Department, said there has not been any activity yet.
Last year, a total of 3,492 cases of flu, including eight deaths, were reported, the highest ever in northern Kentucky.
Grant County had 509 cases of flu reported last season.  
During the 2011-12 season, there were only 284 individuals who tested positive for flu in northern Kentucky.
“Flu activity is impossible to predict,” Gresham Wherle said about this year’s prognosis. “We do know that flu activity now is low across the country.”
The health department is just one of countless providers who offer the flu vaccine each year. Employers, pharmacies and private physicians are already vaccinating for the flu.
Gresham Wherle said there are more options this year than ever before for vaccinations.
“Each vaccine contains protection against various strains of flu,” she said. “This year, some vaccines protect against four strains, compared to three. There are also vaccines available for people who are allergic to eggs. And, as in recent years, there are high-dose vaccines for senior citizens, vaccines using a smaller needle and the nasal spray. All the various types of vaccine offer protection from flu, which is the important part.”
Gresham Wherle said everyone ages 6 months and older should get vaccinated.The vaccine does take two weeks to reach its full effectiveness, so it is important to get vaccinated before flu starts spreading in the community.
“Influenza is a serious disease that results in tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations every year,” Gresham Wherle said.