For Immediate Release
Contact: Phil Ulibarri
775.328.2414 or 775.772.1659
The Washoe County Health District is reporting the first flu-related death of the 2016/17 flu season in Washoe County. The victim is a middle aged individual under the age of 60 who, in addition to contracting Influenza A – H1N1, also had other factors that contributed to the death.
Influenza surveillance and reporting always begin in late September or early October at week 40 of the calendar year, with the highest flu activity typically peeking in December through February. This death so early in the flu season serves as a reminder that influenza is a serious virus that should be avoided. “The best way to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot,” said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. “It’s quick and easy, available at your health care provider, local pharmacy, here at the Health District, and at occasional health clinics throughout the season. Everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated against this serious disease,” Dick said.
Every year influenza causes thousands of deaths in the United States which could be prevented. It is recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual flu shot. Those at especially high-risk of complications from the flu are children under five years-old, 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 there are other preventative measures everyone should practice to prevent the flu and other illnesses.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- When you are sick, keep your distance from others too, stay home from work, school, and errands.
- 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 are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs 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) does not know exactly how many people die from seasonal flu each year. Many seasonal flu-related deaths occur one or two weeks after a person’s initial infection. An ill person may develop a secondary infection, like pneumonia, or the flu can worsen an existing medical condition. On average, there are about 36,000 flu-associated deaths each year with 90% of them occurring in persons 65 years of age and older.
For more information on influenza activity visit the CDC’s website at: www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.
For information about flu shots, clinic locations and events visit Immunize Nevada’s website at: www.immunizenevada.org/community/where-go.