In the United States, cold and flu season generally takes place between October and May, with the peak taking place between December and March. In addition to influenza, another annual concern is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which is making its presence known this fall across Kentucky in addition to colds and other respiratory illnesses.

During a recent public address, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called the recent rise in the number of positive flu cases the quickest and sharpest uprise of flu in a decade.

Although the flu is not nearly as contagious as COVID-19, healthcare providers encourage everyone to get an annual flu shot. Doing so adds an extra layer of protection, especially to vulnerable populations like older adults, young children and people with chronic medical conditions.

“Preparation is key in preventing most seasonal flu activity,” said Fadi Al Akhrass, MD, MBA, FACP, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases and Infection Control at Pikeville Medical Center. “Getting vaccinated is definitely the best way to protect yourself and your family.”

Since cold and flu season coincides with both Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is very important to be mindful of any symptoms and take reasonable precautions when gathered around friends and family to prevent the spread of colds, the flu, RSV and other respiratory illnesses. Preventative measures like hand washing and staying home from work or school while sick can also help reduce the spread of germs.