The Panhandle Health District has confirmed the first flu-related death in Idaho for the 2015-2016 season.
The name of the north Idaho woman has not been released, but officials say she was an adult. A Spokane County woman died from complications related to the flu back in October.
"This tragedy emphasizes that the flu is a serious illness, and now is the time to get vaccinated if you haven't already," said Dave Hylsky, PHD Staff Epidemiologist. “The flu infects 5-20% of Americans, causing over 200,000 hospitalizations and about 30,000 deaths each year.”
Last year there were 32 flu-related deaths in the entire state of Idaho, with eight of those happening in Idaho's five northern counties.
The PHD says flu activity usually peaks between December and February, but can continue to spread as late as May.
Vaccination is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older. It is the best way to keep yourself healthy and stop the flu virus from spreading to others. PHD also recommends protecting yourself by taking the following measures:
- Wash hands with soap frequently and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after you cough, sneeze or touch your face.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of the tissue immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow. Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to six feet.
- Stay home when sick and do not return to work until 24 hours after a fever is gone.
Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, a cough, sore throat or other respiratory issues. If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, you are encouraged to contact your primary care provider.
Vaccinations are currently available at PHD, physician offices, and many pharmacies and grocery stores. To make an appointment, call the Panhandle Health District at (208) 415-5270. For information in the Spokane area, CLICK HERE.