Medical professional urging flu shots as cases reported in eastern Ky.

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 7:05 PM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) - Another virus is making its way to the front lines: the flu.

“This year is more important than any other year in the history of us giving the influenza vaccine or the flu shot,” said Dr. Fares Khater, an infectious disease specialist with Appalachian Regional Hospital.

Dr. Fares Khater says our region could see a triple threat this year with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Influenza, COVID-19 which is already going on, and we are going to have the others, which is a group of 14 respiratory viruses that have no treatment or vaccine for them,” Dr. Khater said. “If you can vaccinate yourself for the flu, get it out of the way.”

Kentucky Department of Public Health’s latest reports show more than 40 cases were reported in counties across the state this week. A fourth of the cases were confirmed in Pike, Floyd, and Greenup counties -- with Pike County ranking as the fourth-highest number of cases confirmed in the state.

Helping to keep the case numbers down, Dr. Khater said is possible with the addition of mask-wearing, but protection won’t happen overnight. It takes two weeks for flu shots to become effective in your body.

“It takes two weeks to build up immunity so the sooner the better. Immunity lasts all year long. Some people say, ‘I don’t want to get it too early because it will fade off,’ and it doesn’t,” Dr. Khater said.

While an earlier recommendation from medical professionals suggested getting two shots this year, Dr. Khater says otherwise.

“You don’t need another one in the spring. Immunity is sustainable all year long. One flu shot is enough,” he said.

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