Local health professionals encourage getting flu shots now

First flu-related death of season reported in southeast Nebraska

    With the first flu-related death this season now confirmed in the state, residents may want to think  more seriously about getting their flu shots if they haven’t already.
    The over 65-year-old’s death was in the Southeast District Health Department (Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson Counties).  
    Rhonda Sargent, manager at the Chase County Clinic, said there have been no confirmed influenza cases treated there.
    That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t get vaccinated, she said. The local clinics have plenty of the flu shots on hand for pediatric age (six to 35 months), general (age three to 64) and high dose (65 and up).
    No appointments are necessary for the shots at the Imperial and Wauneta clinics, Sargent said.
    Symptoms of this season’s flu, Sargent noted, include fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny/stuffy nose.
    While those may seem the same as cold symptoms, the difference is the flu strikes very fast, Sargent said. Health professionals believe being proactive by getting a flu shot now is the best defense against getting the seasonal malady.
Fifty-eight flu deaths in 2016
    “Sadly an influenza-related death underscores the potential seriousness of the disease and the importance of vaccination to reduce the risk of illness, hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist.
    Last season, there were 58 flu-related deaths in Nebraska including two children.
    Flu is circulating now at very low levels in the state, Safranek said. One of the best ways to protect yourself, he said, is by getting a flu shot.

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