Doctors urge flu shots despite drop in cases

By Megan Wimpy

While coughing, fever and muscle ache are keeping some students from class, there are fewer cases of the flu in Lexington than last year.

There are currently 13 confirmed cases of the flu in Fayette County compared to 15 cases in February 2007, said Kevin Hall of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. Last year, there were 84 reported cases by the end of March, when peak flu season ends, according to the health department.

Despite the downtick in flu cases, Hall said students should still consider getting flu shots.

“The flu shot takes two weeks to take effect, and the Kentucky flu season can last until May.” Hall said. “It is still beneficial to get a flu shot.”

The first confirmed flu case at the Kentucky Clinic was on Nov. 7, said Scott Black, a doctor at University Health Services.

“This is peak week,” Black said. “We hope to see cases fall off soon.”

Flu shots are available at the Kentucky Clinic for $10, according to University Health Services.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is offering flu shots for $5 at a community clinic on Feb. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the North Lexington Family YMCA. The shots are also offered daily by appointment at Lexington Health Department locations at 805 Newtown Circle and 2433 Regency Road.

“I wish I had gotten a flu shot,” said Megan Drees, an interior design junior who caught the flu last month. “Recovering in my classes was as bad as recovering from the flu.”

The flu is more than the common cold — it is a specific illness caused by the influenza virus, Black said.

“You may be experiencing symptoms of the flu if you feel good one minute and not the next,” Black said. “The flu is usually as bad as it gets in the first 24 hours. As long as you can control fever, eat and drink fluids, it’s OK to treat the flu at home.”

“The flu can leave you feeling as if you have been hit by a truck,” he said.

For more information on flu shots, call the Newtown Circle Health Department at 288-2483 or the Health Department on Regency Road at 899-5201.