Idaho’s first influenza-related death of the 2018-2019 influenza season occurred this week in a northern Idaho woman over the age of 50.
“The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is reminding residents that flu can be serious” said Randi Pedersen, the Idaho Influenza Surveillance Coordinator. “The most important action to take to prevent serious illness is to get a flu vaccine now.”
Last year’s flu season was particularly deadly, resulting in a record 101 influenza-related deaths in Idaho. That number was quadruple the average of 25 deaths each season over the last decade.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that infects anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of the population every year. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, or fatigue. Most people who get influenza recover after a few days, but some people may develop serious complications.