The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting the 2018-2019 season’s first flu-related deaths. One of the reported deaths occurred in a child in the 0-4 age group. The two adult patients who died were in the 50-64 age group.
“These flu-related deaths are tragic reminders that influenza is a serious illness,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District. “Young children, older adults, and people with certain health conditions may be more at risk for complications. It is not too late to get vaccinated this season, and we want to remind everyone to get a flu shot and to practice healthy habits to protect yourself and your family.”
As of Dec. 22, there were a total of 68 hospitalized influenza cases reported to the Health District. Flu cases are reported on a weekly basis, and reports are available on the Health District website. The Health District is reminding Southern Nevadans that flu season typically peaks in January and February and there is still time to receive a flu vaccine. For information about the Health District’s flu vaccine clinics call (702) 759-0850 or visit the Health District’s Flu Clinic page.
It takes approximately two weeks after vaccination for full protection to set in. Flu vaccination reduces flu illnesses and can prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Every year seasonal flu viruses cause substantial illness and death in the United States, much of which could be prevented with vaccination and other preventive measures. The Health District encourages everyone to get flu vaccinations, especially persons at high-risk of complications from the flu including children younger than 5 (children younger than 2 years old are at highest risk), adults 65 years of age and older, and pregnant women.
The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs can spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the flu has caused between 9.3 million and 49 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 960,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 79,000 deaths annually since 2010. For more information visit the CDC’s Disease Burden of Influenza webpage.
States are not required to report individual seasonal influenza cases or deaths of people older than 18 years of age, and seasonal flu is infrequently listed on death certificates of people who die from flu-related complications. Many seasonal flu-related deaths occur one or two weeks after a person’s initial infection. The ill person may develop a secondary infection, such as bacterial pneumonia, or the flu may aggravate an existing medical condition, such as congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
For more information on influenza activity visit the CDC’s website at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluactivitysurv.htm