Southwest District Health confirmed influenza-associated deaths within its jurisdiction of Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington counties. One resident in Canyon County, one resident in Payette County, and two residents in Washington County have died from influenza-related illness. Each person was over the age of 50.
“It is not too late to get vaccinated for the flu. Even if you become sick with the flu, the vaccine can make the illness less severe. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to help provide protection against the flu,” said Jami Delmore, Southwest District Health Environmental Health Supervisor.
Everyone over six months of age is recommended to get the flu vaccine. This season’s vaccine has been updated to match viruses that are circulating and is proving to be a good match.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that infects 5 to 20 percent of the population every year. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and sometimes a cough and sore throat. The predominant strain currently circulating in Idaho is influenza A(H3), but influenza A(H1N1) and influenza B also have been detected.
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, everyday actions to stop the spread of influenza include:
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent infecting other people. Avoid people who appear to be sick.
• Stay home from work or school when you’re sick so you don’t infect others.
• Wash your hands frequently, especially after being out in the public. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth until you have washed your hands.
• Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of liquids, eat nutritious foods and take part in physical activity to stay healthy.
Most people who get influenza recover after a few days, but some people may develop serious complications. Every year, influenza contributes to an estimated 36,000 deaths in the United States, along with more than 200,000 hospitalizations.
For those who are high-risk for complications from influenza, it is very important to promptly seek medical attention when symptoms start. Those at high risk include children under the age of 5, adults
65 years or older, pregnant women, and those with medical conditions such as asthma, heart or lung diseases, or a weakened immune system.
For more information about influenza, please visit www.cdc.gov/flu or http://flu.idaho.gov