It’s not too late to get the flu. Seriously.

Don’t let the warmer temperatures fool you – flu is still circulating widely in Idaho. The number of flu-related deaths has seen a bump in the past several weeks, and public health officials are advising Idahoans to take precautions to avoid getting sick.

“It’s a very late season compared to previous seasons,” said DHW’s State Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn. “People are still at risk for serious complications related to the flu. This season’s vaccine is a good match for the circulating strains. If you haven’t gotten it yet, it would be a good idea to do so.”

So far this season, the state has had reports of 16 flu-related deaths, many of which didn’t happen until the last couple of months. The number of deaths typically lags behind the season, so it’s possible there will be more. The state reported 32 flu-related deaths during the 2014-2015 flu season.  Continue reading “It’s not too late to get the flu. Seriously.”

It’s prime time for respiratory infections, including colds, flu, and RSV

It’s the time of year when one germ after another makes the rounds and makes us cough. Respiratory infections are particularly troublesome, especially for children and the elderly, and there are more than cold and flu viruses to be aware of.

Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Healthy people who get it usually have mild, cold-like symptoms and recover in a week or two. But it can be very serious for babies and older adults. We’re starting to see some cases in Idaho, as we do every year heading into the winter months. Continue reading “It’s prime time for respiratory infections, including colds, flu, and RSV”

The flu vaccine is your best protection, and it’s time to get it now

It’s October, which means flu season  is here. And that means it’s time to get vaccinated to protect yourself against the flu. Flu season can run from October to May, so if you haven’t gotten the vaccine yet this year, you should get one as soon as possible. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from what can be a serious infection.

Public health officials think this year’s vaccine, which is different from last year’s, is a good match for the flu strains that could be circulating, but it’s difficult to predict so early in the season. Flu viruses are constantly changing. Flu vaccines are updated before the start of flu season each year, based on which influenza viruses are making people sick in other parts of the world. This year’s trivalent vaccine offers protection for two type A influenza viruses, and one type B virus. An additional type B influenza virus is included in the vaccine that offers protection against four strains of the virus; that is called the quadrivalent vaccine. Continue reading “The flu vaccine is your best protection, and it’s time to get it now”