flu season

cdc.gov

The Sedgwick County Department of Health is urging residents to get a flu shot if they haven’t already — because we’re not through the worst of the flu season.

As doctors repeatedly warn, it’s not too late to get your flu shot.

That’s especially so in Kansas City, which, according to the maker of a “smart thermometer” app, has one of the highest rates of flu in the country.

ann-dabney

Kansas health officials say the flu is increasing in most parts of the state.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Free flu shots are now available for uninsured Sedgwick County residents older than 19, according to a news release from the county.

The vaccine is available while supplies last at the county’s Division of Health main clinic at 2716 W. Central in Wichita. The clinic is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 6:30 p.m.

Flu vaccinations are recommended for anyone six months or older. There is no live virus in flu shots, and the vaccine cannot cause the flu.

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People older than 64 or younger than five are being hit the hardest.

The CDC is advising people with chronic conditions, pregnant women, senior citizens, and small children to take antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, if they become infected.

Dr. Mike Munger, at St. Luke’s South Primary Care, in Overland Park, says the drugs need to be taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms to minimize the severity of the flu.

The Sedgwick County Health Department has run out of flu vaccine for uninsured adults

The agency says the vaccine is still available for children, regardless of whether they're insured. Uninsured children are charged on a sliding fee scale based on family income.

Remaining flu vaccinations can be administered at the health department's clinic in Wichita.

State health officials say 16 Kansans have died from the influenza during the current flu season.

A spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says at this time last year, 42 people had died from the flu.

The state's reporting period is from September to May.

The H1N1 flu strain this season is the same strain that caused killed more than 18,000 people in the U.S. in 2009.

But state epidemiologist Charles Hunt says this year's strain won't be as severe because people have developed more immunity to that strain.

Health officials say the state is seeing a high number of influenza cases this year.

The state Department of Health and Environment reports 5 percent of visits to clinic sites it monitors were due to influenza-like illness.

The KDHE says flu or pneumonia contributed to 510 deaths during the current season, which began September 1st.

We've also seen a re-emergence of the A/H1N1 strain as the dominant virus.

The same strain caused a pandemic in 2009.

The agency is encouraging people eaged six months and older to get vaccinated.

A state health official says flu season has started in Kansas but there isn't any indication that this year's outbreak will be any worse than previous years.

Flu Season Has Arrived In Wichita

Nov 4, 2013

Flu season has come early to Kansas this year; state health officials have confirmed two cases of influenza.

KDHE spokeswoman Miranda Steele says one case was identified through a system of clinics that monitor patients with flu-like symptoms. The other was identified by the Sedgwick County Health Department.

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