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President Trump's reported to be ready to sign disaster relief bill without money for border security. Also on the Friday rundown: House bills would give millions a path to citizenship; and remembering California’s second-deadliest disaster.

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Kentucky Health Officials: Don’t Let Flu Ruin the Holidays

Headaches and severe body aches are hallmark signs of the flu. (Marg Johnson/Twenty20)
Headaches and severe body aches are hallmark signs of the flu. (Marg Johnson/Twenty20)
December 7, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. – With the holiday season here, health officials in Kentucky are urging people to take steps to help prevent spreading the flu.

During last year's flu season, 325 adults and five children died in Kentucky due to flu or complications from the virus, and there were a record number of hospitalizations.

Christa Mitchell from Central Kentucky says she spent 49 days in the hospital after contracting the flu the day after Christmas.

"I had no idea, I had no idea what the flu could do,” says Mitchell. “I almost died. I went into septic shock; I had the sepsis infection, pneumonia so bad that it was like concrete in my lungs."

Mitchell says because she had never been prone to illness, she didn't get a flu shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu vaccine for anyone six months of age or older, but some patients opt against it because of concerns about effectiveness or ingredients.

People with compromised immune systems are advised to talk with their doctor about whether a flu shot is appropriate.

Flu activity in the Commonwealth is currently classified as "regional," with 118 confirmed cases as of last week. Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health Dr. Jeffery Howard says his own position is that being vaccinated helps protect the person – and those around them.

"For me that's my kids,” says Howard. “I don't want to contract the flu and bring it home to my kids. And there's other people in our state and communities who have elderly grandparents or parents, or even young children. You really need to protect yourself so you can thereby protect them."

Howard notes routine hygiene and regular hand washing also are crucial in staving off the influenza virus. He explains hallmark signs of the flu are headaches and severe body aches, although symptoms can be more severe.

"If you or someone you know is suffering from flu and they're lethargic or unable to think clearly, or unable to wake up from sleep and appear to be sleeping really, really deep and you can't wake them up, those are reasons to get them emergent care,” says Howard.

Today wraps up National Influenza Vaccination Week, and health officials are encouraging Kentuckians who opt to get those vaccines to do it before the peak of flu season in February.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY