SPOKANE -- The flu has claimed its first victim in eastern Washington.
The Spokane Regional Health District reports a Spokane Co. woman in her 80s fell subject to the flu this week.
To make an appointment for flu shot or questions about vaccine, contact SRHD Public Health Clinic, (509) 324-1600
"Our hearts go out to her loved ones for their loss," SRHD health officer Dr. Joel McCullough said. "Sadly, this is an example of how serious flu can be. With flu season picking up, it’s important to remember that we can protect ourselves and our loved ones with a flu shot.”
The SRHD recommends flu shots for everyone over six months old. Children and senior citizens are at the most risk.
Washington’s Department of Health says six people have died from the flu this season.
It takes about two weeks after being vaccinated to be fully protected, but with several weeks still left in the season there is still time to get a flu shot.
Flu viruses spread when people with flu generate droplets from their mouths or noses while coughing, sneezing or talking. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. People can also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose. A person can spread flu before they know they’re sick and up to seven days after. Children can spread it for even longer. Again, the best way to avoid getting or spreading the flu is to get a flu shot, and also wash your hands, cover your cough and stay home if you’re sick.
If you’re already sick with the flu, antiviral medications can lessen symptoms and help prevent serious complications. They work best when started quickly; people should ask their health care provider about their best option. It’s also important to stay away from others for at least 24 hours after you have no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
For more information about influenza and influenza vaccine visit srhd.org/flu or www.cdc.gov/flu. Spokane Regional Health District’s Web site also offers comprehensive, updated information. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.