Spokane Regional Health District reports first flu death in east - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane Regional Health District reports first flu death in eastern Washington

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A woman in her 50s has died from flu-related illness A woman in her 50s has died from flu-related illness
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Flu activity continues in Spokane County and according to Spokane Regional Health District, a woman in her 50s died from the virus this week.

"Sadly, this is an example of how serious flu can be," said Dr. Joel McCullough, Spokane Regional Health District’s health officer. “Your best chance at protecting your loved ones, and yourself, from flu is to get a flu shot.”

The Washington State Department of Health says, so far, there have been four other confirmed flu-related deaths this season. All four were on the west side of the state. Two Spokane County residents have been hospitalized with flu compared to three admissions during the same period last year. Flu season does not typically peak until February.

Last flu season, 407 people were hospitalized due to flu in Spokane County and 17 people died because of flu-related illness. In the United States, over a recent 30-year period, the CDC reports that the flu was linked to thousands of deaths each year — ranging from 3,000 to 49,000.

Flu vaccine choices this year include:

  • ? Quadrivalent vaccine This flu vaccine protects against four strains of influenza—two stains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B. Including a second strain of influenza B provides broader protection.
  • ? Trivalent vaccine The traditional vaccine designed to protect against three different flu viruses—two A viruses and one B virus.
  • ? Nasal spray vaccine This quadrivalent flu vaccine is sprayed into the nose and is approved for use in healthy, non-pregnant persons ages 2 through 49.
  • ? Needle-free vaccine A new trivalent vaccine called Afluria is available. It uses a stream of fluid that goes through the skin and into the muscle. This vaccine is for persons 18 through 64.
  • ? Egg-free vaccines Flu vaccines are traditionally cultured in eggs, but now, a trivalent vaccine made from viruses grown in animal cells is available.
  • ? High-dose vaccines As people age, their immune systems weaken, which means the elderly get less protection from a standard flu shot than do younger people. High-dose trivalent shots, approved for those ages 65 and over, include four times the usual level of immunity-producing proteins to provide more protection.
  •  Intradermal shots These trivalent shots are designed for needle-phobic adults ages 18 to 64—they have shorter needles that penetrate just the skin, rather than traditional intramuscular shots.

For more info on the flu visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/ or http://srhd.org/

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