FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirmed the state’s first influenza-related death of the 2019-20 flu season on Tuesday.
“This is a tragic reminder that we should never underestimate how serious the flu can be,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box. “Vaccination is the best defense against influenza, so please make sure you and your loved ones receive a flu shot.”
Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:
• Fever Of 100° Fahrenheit Or Greater
• Muscle Aches
• Sore Throat
• Runny Or Stuffy Nose
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age six months and older get a flu shot each year.
Dr. Box said that because infants younger than 6 months can’t be vaccinated, it’s important that anyone in a household where a young baby lives or visits get a flu shot to protect the child.
ISDH is also urging healthcare workers to get a flu vaccine to reduce their risk of transmitting illness to their patients.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so the CDC recommends early vaccination.
The ISDH says the flu vaccine can be administered at any time during the season, which typically runs from October through May.
Influenza is spread when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets.
People can also become infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with influenza viruses and then touching their eyes, mouths or noses.
Although anyone can get the flu, some people are at higher risk of flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, hospitalization and death.
More than 110 Hoosiers died from flu-related illnesses during the 2018-19 flu season, according to the ISDH.
Those most at risk include pregnant women, young children (especially those too young to get vaccinated), people with chronic illnesses, people who are immunocompromised and the elderly.
People can help prevent the spread of flu by washing their hands frequently and thoroughly, avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth with their hands and staying home when sick.
The ISDH says Hoosiers should practice the “Three Cs” to help prevent the spread of flu and other infectious diseases:
• Clean: Properly wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
• Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze into your arm or a disposable tissue.
• Contain: Stay home from school or work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading.