A 75-year-old Placer County resident recently died from complications of influenza, marking the first flu-related death of the 2019-2020 season. The person who died had underlying health issues, which increases the risk of severe flu complications.
There were nine flu-related deaths in the 2018-2019 season in Placer County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 36,400 and 61,200 people died nationwide during the last flu season.
“We are saddened by this news and extend our heartfelt sympathies to the loved ones of the deceased,” said Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “We should never forget that flu is a deadly illness and the best line of defense is yearly vaccination. Flu season typically runs from November through April, so if you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet this year, it’s not too late.”
While flu vaccination is recommended annually for everyone 6 months and older, it is particularly important for young children; pregnant women; adults aged 65 and older; and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma.
In addition to being vaccinated, it is important to practice good health habits to limit the spread of infectious conditions. Sick individuals should stay home from work or school for 24 hours after fever is gone; always cover coughs and sneezes; wash hands with soap and water; and avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth.
Influenza comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue. People at higher risk of severe disease who have flu symptoms should contact their medical provider. Providers may prescribe antiviral medications that reduce the severity and duration of illness. Antibiotics are not effective against the flu.
Most insurance plans including Medi-Cal and Medicare cover free flu vaccinations from your health care provider. Many pharmacies also offer no-cost or low-cost vaccines. Free flu shots are also available at Sierra College and the upcoming Mountain Mandarin Festival. To find a place call Placer County Public Health at 530-889-7183.