Flu season is upon us and the health department is warning that this could be a very bad flu season. There’s a growing concern amongst health leaders that we could face a dual viral threat this winter.
With COVID-19 still infecting and killing Kentuckians on a daily basis, the flu is starting to rear its head as well.
“The flu kills thousands and thousands of people each year,” said Kevin Hall, spokesperson for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.
Hall says, like COVID-19, the flu attacks and weakens the immune system leaving someone more susceptible to other diseases.
“It causes such a toll on your body that other things could cause you to die from that. So, people who are already with underlying conditions, whether it’s breathing issues or heart issues, getting a flu shot is extra important,” Hall said. “Our nurses, our doctors, everyone involved in the medical business is stretched to their limits because of COVID-19 and getting the flu shot can help prevent people from going to the hospitals or overloading our medical providers with more sicknesses.”
Hall says the flu wasn’t as big a factor as it normally is last year, but that was because COVID-19 restrictions were in place and it cut down on the flu’s spread.
This year, those restrictions aren’t there.
“School is in session, ball games are being held, extracurricular activities, so people are gathering in spots where the flu can be spread,” Hall said. “There’s no mask mandate this year, so, people, too many people, are going out without their masks on to protect others from getting illnesses like COVID-19 and of course the flu. So, because more people are gathering, there’s less place to protect you with masks, we’re afraid that more people could get the flu this year.”
Hall says you can get a flu shot from the health department Monday, Wednesday, or Friday at the public health clinic. You can go online to register for a same-day appointment and, while you’re there, you can get a COVID vaccine or booster as well.
“We’ve gave about 80-90 shots just on Wednesday and Friday combined. The interest is there, and you can get your Pfizer booster or your Moderna or J&J first or second dose, depending on what you get, along with your flu shot at the same time,” Hall said.
Wednesday, the health department will be out at Consolidated Baptist Church, from 3-6, hosting a flu shot clinic. You can schedule an appointment for that online now.