SPOKANE, Wash. - The influenza virus has already killed two people in Washington state, including a 60 year old Spokane County man.
Influenza is spreading throughout Spokane County.
"I think our numbers are maybe a little bit higher than we saw last year, at this time," said Dr. Bob Lutz with the Spokane Regional Health District.
If you are lucky, the flu will only bring some temporary discomfort. But for the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and people with underlying health issues, symptoms can pose a serious threat.
"Flu can be a deadly illness that needs to be addressed," said Lutz.
Dr. Lutz said getting a flu shot is the best way to guard yourself and those around you, however a report by ABC is raising concerns about this year's vaccine, claiming it's only 10 percent effective.
"If you are someone who is at risk, 10 percent of enhanced effectiveness against an illness that could be fatal is definitely better than no percent," Lutz said.
While flu shots are a good defense, being mindful of germs is equally important. It may seem obvious, but avoid close contact with sick people, keep hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash them regularly. When you cough or sneeze, use a sleeve, not your hand.
If you do happen to catch the nasty bug, keep it to yourself. Limit exposure to others, stay home from work or school, and consider seeing a doctor.
According to SRHD, peak flu season in the Inland Northwest is typically between January and February. While it's more beneficial to get a flu shot early in the season, Lutz said it's never too late.
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