Local healthcare providers say it isn’t too late to get an influenza shot, despite the large number of Letcher County residents suffering from the flu or flu-like symptoms.
Spokesmen for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently declared a flu epidemic in the United States and strongly recommend that everyone get a flu shot.
Although the vaccine may not prevent all strains of the flu, it will lessen the severity of the illness, says the CDC.
To prevent spread of the illness, Joyce Griffith, community chief nursing officer at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital, recommends good handwashing practices and avoiding contact with those suffering from the flu.
“The best treatment is prevention,” said Griffith.
In addition to the flu, local residents have been ill with a stomach virus, said Sybil Shell, director of nursing at Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation.
“We’ve had some very sick people,” said Shell. “If you are sick, stay home.”
Prior to Christmas break, a large number of students who attend Martha Jane Potter Elementary School and Fleming-Neon Middle School were absent because of illness. Attendance has risen since the new semester has begun.
Rondall Baker, pupil personnel director of Jenkins Independent Schools, said the district’s attendance rate is nearly 94 percent for this school year, with 93.8 percent in attendance on Monday.