There's still time to get a flu shot

Flu deaths are said to be on the rise across Idaho, with this year's influenza season shaping up to be one of the most severe in recent memory, according to a news release from the department. The state Health Department received reports of 5,578 lab-confirmed flu cases during the week ending February 18, down 8 percent from the previous week.

The overall deaths from pneumonia and flu held at 7.8%, the same percent reported last week, keeping the level above the epidemic threshold of 7.5% for this point in the flu season.

The CDC recommends flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

"The problem is it takes 10 to 14 days for immunity from the flu vaccine", he said.

Even though this flu season may be at its peak, pharmaceutical companies that produce the vaccine are preparing for when it returns later this year.

Elliott noted that county residents can visit the health center for a flu shot between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The good news, Boss said, is that this year's vaccines were developed for the H3N2 strain.

The first Rogers County flu death reported was a child between the ages of five and 17 on January 5.

Dr. Lopez said the decrease in effectiveness wasn't unexpected. Therefore, the sooner you are vaccinated, the sooner your baby will be protected from the flu.

So far, there have been four flu-related deaths in the state and one death directly attributed to the influenza virus.

He then recommends avoiding areas of high population during the flu season, washing hands frequently and for those who are infected with influenza to stay home. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

"They can't sneeze or cough their stuff on you", Paden said. In order to reduce the risk of children in your household catching the flu, it's important for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated - this includes pregnant and nursing moms.

  • Zachary Reyes