The flu season that was…was deadly – Plan to get your flu shot this fall

2017-18FluSeasonTotal

Idaho has reported 101 flu-related deaths this season, making it the deadliest flu season in Idaho in several decades. Our state typically sees an average of 22 flu-related deaths each season, and the season lasts from October through May each year. Now that this season is over, I would like to encourage you to plan now for getting your annual flu vaccine in the fall. Public health officials in Idaho would love to see an increase in the 40-50 percent of Americans who get the flu vaccine each year.  Continue reading

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Number of flu-related deaths in Idaho jumps to 13

Idaho is seeing more influenza-related deaths at this point in the season than in the same timeframe in the previous seven seasons, and public health officials are concerned. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has received five new reports in one week of Idahoans who died from an influenza-related illness, bringing the season total to 13 deaths.

“Flu is widespread in Idaho and may be especially severe this season,” said Randi Pedersen, the state influenza surveillance coordinator. “Unfortunately, this flu season is far from over. Influenza activity typically peaks in Idaho in January or early February. If you haven’t yet gotten the vaccine, it is not too late! Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your family from this serious illness.”

Everyone over six months of age is recommended to get the flu vaccine, unless they have medical reasons to avoid it.

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Flu season has arrived in Idaho – Get your annual vaccination by end of October!

Flu ShotsWe at the Department of Health and Welfare have started tracking flu season, and you know what that means — it’s time to get the annual flu vaccine. We have had some indications that the season may hit us earlier this year than in recent years, so don’t delay. Flu season can last from October to May, and it typically peaks anytime between December and March. Getting vaccinated now is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from what can be a serious infection, even for otherwise healthy people. Continue reading

Northern Idaho man dies from flu-related illness as flu season gets an early start

A northern Idaho man over the age of 50 has died from an influenza-related illness.

“The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is warning residents that the flu season appears to have arrived early this year, with this first influenza-related death of the season and early reports of flu activity from other parts of the state,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, the state influenza surveillance coordinator. “This underscores how important it is for all of us to take precautions now to avoid influenza infections. In addition to washing your hands and staying home if you are sick, visit your health care provider, local public health district, or pharmacy to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Getting vaccinated today will help protect you and your family now and for the rest of the influenza season.”

This is Idaho’s first influenza-associated death of the season. The first reported influenza-related death last season didn’t occur until December. Last flu season, 72 people were reported to have died from flu-related illnesses in Idaho. On average, 23 people die from flu-related illness each year, based on data from 2009-2010 through 2015-2016 flu seasons.  Continue reading

Increase in deaths prompts warning for people to take precautions against the flu 

Flu deaths are on the rise across Idaho, with this year’s influenza season shaping up to be one of the most severe in recent memory.

“We are aware of 47 influenza-related deaths in Idaho so far this season, which includes 36 verified flu deaths and 11 current reports that are in the process of verification,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state influenza surveillance coordinator. “This is one of the most severe flu seasons in the state since 2000.”  Continue reading

Southern Idaho man has died from a flu-related illness

A southern Idaho man over the age of 50 has died from an influenza-related illness. This is Idaho’s first influenza-associated death of the season, and a reminder that the influenza season is here. Last flu season, 26 people were reported to have died from flu-related illnesses in Idaho.

“We’d like to express our condolences to the family of the man who died,” says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s State Influenza Surveillance coordinator. “This underscores the idea that influenza is in our communities, as well as how important it is for all of us to take precautions to avoid influenza infections, which can be serious for even otherwise healthy people. Now is the time to visit your health care provider, local public health district, or pharmacy to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated today will help protect you and your family over the holidays and for the rest of the influenza season.”

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. Most people who get influenza recover after a few days, but some people may develop serious complications and even die. Every year, the flu contributes to an estimated 36,000 deaths in the United States, along with more than 200,000 hospitalizations.  Continue reading

It’s time to get your yearly flu vaccine

It’s time to get the annual flu vaccine so you’re ready for flu season, which can run from October to May. Flu activity typically peaks anytime between December and March, and positive flu tests are already showing up this year. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from what can be a serious infection, even for otherwise healthy people.

There are some new recommendations for the flu vaccines this year. Can you talk about those?

The yearly recommendation that everyone over the age of the 6 months get the flu vaccine has not changed. But you will notice the lack of a nasal vaccine this year. It was commonly called the flu mist. Research has shown that it wasn’t as effective as the flu shot for several years, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people should get the injection instead.  Continue reading