LINCOLN – The first flu-related death this season has been reported.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services received a report that an adult over 65 passed away in relation to the flu in the Southeast District Health Department area. Last season there were 58 flu-related deaths in Nebraska, two of which were children. Three Rivers Health Department’s Executive Director Terra Uhing says some cases of the flu can cause other illnesses, especially for someone at high-risk for complications related to Influenza.
“Sometimes you’ll get a low-grade fever and a cough. You can get a runny nose, a headache, and you feel a little tired, and fatigued” said Uhing. “But in some of the cases we’ve seen that upper-respiratory can roll over to pneumonia or bronchitis.”
Those at high risk for complications in relation to Influenza include people over 65-years-old, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, young children, and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
The flu is currently circulating at very low levels in the state. One of the best ways to protect yourself is by getting the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu vaccine for everyone six months and older. State Epidemiologist Dr. Tom Safranek says the reported death highlights the importance of getting the flu shot early.
“Right now we’re early in the season. We think it’s a very appropriate time for individuals to get their flu vaccine,” said Dr. Safranek. “The death that we had underscores the seriousness of Influenza and the potential for a very serious health impact.”
According to the Department of Health and Human Services the vaccine is safe and rigorously tested. The nasal spray vaccine is not suggested due to concerns about the effectiveness, according to the CDC.
The most common reactions people may experience from the vaccine are soreness and/or redness at the injection site. After receiving the vaccine it takes about two weeks for the body to build up immunity.