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First Idaho flu deaths of the season reported

KTVB-TV Boise logo KTVB-TV Boise 12/23/2019 KTVB Staff
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The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says two women in northern Idaho are the state's first reported flu-related deaths of this season.

Both women were over the age of 70.

"The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is reminding residents that flu can be serious," says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, the Idaho Influenza Surveillance Coordinator, in a press release. "Although these deaths occurred in northern Idaho, influenza activity is on the rise statewide. One important prevention measure for Idahoans is to get an annual flu shot."

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Health officials also say there have been outbreaks of flu in assisted-living and long-term care facilities around the state that they are responding to.

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The department recommends any living at one of those facilities to follow good hand-washing and sanitation procedures, and to also get vaccinated.

Officials also say everyone over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine each year, especially people with a higher risk of complications, such as people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, young children, and anyone over the age of 65.

Health and Welfare says there have been an average of 64 flu-related deaths over the last four seasons, with most being people over 70.

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The department recommends people take precautions during flu season to limit the spread of the disease:

    Wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth until you have washed your hands. 

•    Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of liquids, eat nutritious foods, and be physically active to stay healthy. 

•    Avoid people who appear sick.

•    Stay home from work or school when sick. 

•    Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. 

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