Health

Indiana Says Three Flu Deaths So Far This Season

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January 3, 2014 by Jerry Howard

Three deaths are causing Indiana state health officials today to report the first influenza (flu) casualties of the 2013-2014 flu season.

State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. says influenza is now widespread across Indiana, “Flu activity is increasing around the state,” said Dr. VanNess. “The recent deaths remind us that influenza can be very serious and even deadly. I encourage all Hoosiers to become vaccinated from flu to protect themselves, their families and the community.”

The State Health Department notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that several flu deaths, including children, have been reported across the nation, and the CDC predicts the numbers will increase as flu season continues.

The State Health Department says, “Flu vaccine can usually be found at local health departments, pharmacies and with health care providers.  Flu vaccination is recommended for anyone 6 months of age or older.  It is especially important for those at higher risk of complications related to the flu to get vaccinated. High risk individuals include pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses and/or compromised immune systems and the elderly.”

State health officials encourage flu vaccination for healthcare workers, household contacts and caregivers of children less than six months old, as well as household contacts of people at high risk for flu complications.

A flu vaccine locator can be found at www.StateHealth.in.gov.

Dr. VanNess wants people to practice the “Three Cs” to help prevent spread of flu and other infectious diseases:

  • Clean your hands often with soap and warm water.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze using your sleeve or a tissue.
  • Contain your illness by staying home when you are sick.

As a viral infection of the respiratory tract, influenza is spread by respiratory droplets during close contact with infected people or contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.  Infection can occur when flu viruses contact the eyes, mouth, or nose, and possibly through inhaling droplets from a sneeze or cough.  Sometimes people can become infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with influenza viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth, or nose.

Flu symptoms include:

  • fever 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or greater
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat

More information about Indiana’s 2013-2014 influenza season is at www.StateHealth.in.gov.

 

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