LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Add a flu shot to your to-do-list. Doctors recommend everyone over 6 months old get a flu shot before the end of October.
"Get vaccinated now because it takes two weeks after getting the flu shot for your body to be protected," Dr. Evan Davidson of Norton Community Medical Associates – Brownsboro said.
Flu season generally starts in October, with the highest number of people getting sick in December and January. It can last into May, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Davidson said our area has already started seeing cases.
Last year, more than 80,000 people died from the flu — the highest number in more than 40 years. The CDC estimates nearly half of Kentuckians and Hoosiers did not get a flu shot last year.
Health officials in Kentucky say a flu-related death has been confirmed in Lexington. A statement from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department on Tuesday said it is the state's first flu-related death of the 2018-19 season. The state said the person who died also had other health complications.
"With the holidays rapidly approaching and families getting together, you want to be protected so you do not spread the illness to seniors, infants and those at risk for complications," Dr. Davidson said. "And who wants to take that kind of 'gift' home with them?"
The flu is easily spread, as people are contagious a day before they feel sick and up to seven days after. While the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it reduces the risk. If you are one of the few who still gets the flu despite the vaccine, you are not likely to be as sick and you have a lower risk of getting pneumonia.
People at highest risk for complications from the flu are children younger than age 5, adults over age 65, people with heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women. Also, residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities are at high risk.