Washoe County Announcement

First deaths of the 2017/18 flu season reported in Washoe County
Get vaccinated now for protection through the holidays

Media Release
For Immediate Release
www.washoecounty.us/health

Contact: Phil Ulibarri
pulibarri@washoecounty.us
775.328.2414 or 775.772.1659

The Washoe County Health District is reporting two flu-related deaths, the first fatalities of the 2017/18 flu season in Washoe County. Both victims were over 80 years-old and both were at risk for complications because of the flu due to underlying medical conditions, in addition to their advanced age.

Influenza surveillance and reporting begins in late September or early October with the highest flu activity in the Washoe County community typically peeking in December through February. “These deaths serve as a reminder that influenza is a serious virus that can be fatal,” said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. “The best way to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot.  It’s quick and easy, and vaccine is available at locations throughout the community such as your doctor’s office, local pharmacies, at the Health District, and at special health clinics and events organized 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 preventable deaths in the United States. Everyone 6 months of age and older is recommended to 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,  pregnant women, and persons with certain medical conditions including chronic lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes. For a full listing of groups at high-risk for flu-related complications, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm

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, and stay home from work, school, and errands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or cough or sneeze into your sleeve. 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. The CDC estimates the annual number of flu-related deaths at between 12,000 and 56,000. For more information on influenza activity visit the CDC’s website at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluactivitysurv.htm.

For information about flu shots, clinic locations and events visit Immunize Nevada’s website at: https://www.immunizenevada.org/community/where-go.

# # #