Kentucky Health Officials Say that Flu Activity is an ‘Epidemic’ Around the State

The Kentucky Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is now saying that influenza activity in Kentucky is an “epidemic,” meaning that this season’s strain of the flu virus can be extremely serious, even deadly, not just for those in higher risk categories but to generally healthy Kentuckians as well.

Kentucky is in its sixth consecutive week of widespread flu activity which is the highest level of flu activity and indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state, according to a news release.

“Widespread influenza activity means that Kentuckians are likely to encounter one or more persons shedding influenza virus at work, at school, while shopping, while traveling, at athletic or entertainment events, and in places of worship,” said the Acting Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard. “A person who will develop influenza illness actually can transmit the virus to other persons beginning one day before their illness begins.”

Health officials are inviting the public to participate in a Facebook Live discussion about the flu on the CHFS Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kychfs/) at 6 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Central on Thursday, January 25. People can submit flu-related questions beforehand to chfs.communications@ky.gov or post their question in the comments section during the event.

For more information, including tips to help prevent the spread of the flu, please click here.

 

State officials urge communities to ‘Step It Up’ and help people walk more

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is challenging communities and organizations to join Step It Up, Kentucky!, a statewide campaign that aims to improve the health of all Kentuckians by building the demand for walkable communities.

Public health recommends getting 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week to improve health, which can easily be achieved by walking. People are more likely to make the decision to walk when they have places, programs and policies that provide opportunities and encouragement.

“Getting people to move more starts with improving the places we live, learn, work and play,” Elaine Russell, coordinator for the Obesity Prevention Program, said in a news release. “Communities can be built for people to be active in their everyday life. By providing safe, attractive and convenient places to walk, anybody can incorporate exercise into their daily routine.”

“Step It Up, Kentucky!” has already received numerous endorsements from businesses, organizations, individuals and state leaders, including Gov. Matt Bevin, who issued an official proclamation in support of “Step It Up, Kentucky!”

There are many things communities can do to support “Step It Up, Kentucky!,” including participating in walking programs, working with local coalitions to create spaces and opportunities for walking, or just spreading the message that Kentucky communities need to be redesigned as thriving places for everybody to be active and healthy.

For more information, visit the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky’s website. If you are interested in reading more about obesity prevention, increasing access to physical activity, or what other communities are doing to encourage wellness, visit the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky’s blog.

 

CDC lists top 10 U.S. public health issues

CDC imageThe U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has updated its Prevention Status Reports, which ranks the biggest U.S. public health issues.

The Prevention Status Reports organize information on state public health policies and practices in a format that is easy to use for public health professionals, community leaders, and policy makers. The reports allow these individuals to understand their state’s status and identify improvement areas.

According to the reports, the 10 most important public health problems and concerns are (listed alphabetically):

  • Alcohol-related harms
  • Food safety
  • Healthcare-associated infections
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • HIV
  • Motor vehicle injury
  • Nutrition, physician activity and obesity
  • Prescription drug overdose
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Tobacco use

The Prevention Status Reports website also features an interactive map, tables summarizing state data and fact sheets. To learn more, click here.