Flu an issue in Kentucky, but easing in Indiana

Influenza is still a significant problem in Kentucky, according to state officials who expect the flu issue to continue well into May.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health announced Wednesday that flu activity in the state has been “widespread” for the ninth straight week. This means flu-like activity and outbreaks of the disease reported in at least half of the state. According to KDPH senior deputy commissioner Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, people are still advised to get a flu vaccine if they haven’t gotten one yet. He added that the vaccine is still “in good supply,” and most health plans will cover it as part of their terms.

Meanwhile, in Indiana, flu season seems to be easing as expected, as Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital announced that it is lifting several restrictions for people who want to visit their loved ones. More people will be allowed to visit flu sufferers, including their children and friends. Previously, the hospital only allowed a maximum of two “essential adults” to visit per time, including immediate family members. Visitors under the age of 18, or visitors with flu-like symptoms, were not allowed to visit.

“We will continue to monitor the levels of patient volumes with flu-like symptoms, but at this time we believe the restrictions are no longer necessary,” said Jeff Bird, IU Health Ball Memorial chief medical and operating officer. “While the restrictions may have been difficult, we believe they were instrumental in helping us protect our patients, employees and community.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that this year’s flu season started out a little later, as compared to the previous three seasons. It has also been milder than what the agency had seen in recent years, CDC spokeswoman Lynette Brammer added. She added that patients remain susceptible to the influenza virus, even if the season is currently winding down, and should keep good hygiene in mind to avoid the illness.