Increase of flu hospitalizations, deaths

Increase of flu hospitalizations, deaths

The Spokane Regional Health District and Panhandle Health District Thursday, urged people to get a flu shot.

The health districts say they saw an increase in flu hospitalizations and deaths, prompting hospital and public health officials to issue a reminder for people to get vaccinated.

Officials say it is recommended that all people 6 months of age and older get immunized against flu.

“When it comes to flu and seeking care from a healthcare provider, those people at higher risk of complications should call and consult with their provider when ill,” said SRHD Health Officer, Dr. Bob Lutz. “While most people who do become ill with flu can be safely cared for at home, there are some symptoms, like trouble breathing, that should trigger immediate emergency care.”

According to the health district, this season, 89 people have been hospitalized in Spokane County with laboratory-confirmed flu.

Six flu deaths have been reported in Washington, four of which were in Spokane County.

In North Idaho, hospitalizations increased 18 percent over the past two weeks and two people have died from the flu.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

Fever or chills
Sore throat
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Extreme fatigue (very tired)

People can get the flu simply by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.

In addition to flu vaccination, officials also recommend frequent hand washing with warm water and soap, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if sick.

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