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36 flu deaths in Kentucky includes two children

The Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, says two children have died from the flu this season.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDKY) - The Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), says two children have died from the flu this season.

"Of the thirty-six flu-related deaths reported so far this season, two of those were children," said the Acting Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard. "The average age of death of the other thirty-four people who died as a result of flu is 75 years of age," said Dr. Howard.

To protect the family's privacy, the children's hometown, county and gender are not being released.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these tips to stop the spread of germs:

• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

The Department for Public Health is reporting "widespread" flu activity for the 2017-2018 flu season. Widespread activity is the highest level.

"The most common flu strain identified in Kentucky and in the 36 deaths is Influenza A," added Department for Public Health's State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jonathan Ballard. "Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu. Recently the CDC issued a health advisory advising clinicians that antiviral treatment that all hospitalized and high-risk persons with suspected influenza should be treated with antiviral medications, and that benefits are observed even when treatment is initiated beyond 2 days of illness onset. The flu season typically runs until late spring so it is not too late to get vaccinated," Dr. Ballard reports.

It takes about 2 weeks after getting the vaccine before patients become protected from the flu.

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