Idaho again faces the grim reminder that flu kills, as the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare confirmed Monday a Gem State woman, over the age of 60, has died from influenza-related illness—the first such fatality of the season.
While officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say
flu activity typically peaks in February in the United States and can last until May, severe cases of the flu are already cropping up. The CDC recommends a flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in combating influenza.
Dr. Dave Hylsky of the Panhandle Health District, where the fatality was reported, told KREM-TV
that immunization should be a priority for every Idaho family.
"This tragedy emphasizes that the flu is a serious illness," Hylsy told KREM-TV.
IDHW reported 32 flu-related deaths in Idaho during the prior flu season. Infants, pregnant women, people with medical conditions and elderly are particularly at risk each flu season.
The CDC says there are several flu vaccine options
for the current flu season: the standard dose trivalent shot, which protects against two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus; an egg-free trivalent shot; a high-dose trivalent shot for people 65 and older; and a quadrivalent flu vaccine, which guards against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.