First flu-related death of season in Spokane

January 16, 2013 9:47 a.m. - Updated: 10:53 a.m.

A Spokane County woman in her 80s died this week from the flu, marking Eastern Washington’s first flu-related death this season.

Flu activity continues to rise in Spokane County. Some 35 residents have been hospitalized with the flu compared to four admissions during the same period last year, a news release from the Spokane Regional Health District said. Spokane’s first lab-confirmed flu case occurred in October, but most of the time, flu activity peaks in February or later.

The health district recommends everyone age six months and older get a flu shot each year. However the shots are especially important for people at high risk for complications, including people 65 and older, young children, pregnant and postpartum women, and people with certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and neurologic conditions, the release said.

The Washington State Department of Health reports six other laboratory-confirmed flu-related deaths this season—all on the west side of the state.

It takes about two weeks after being vaccinated to be fully protected. Health District Officer Dr. Joel McCullough said this year’s vaccines appear to be well-matched for the two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B that are circulating. The dominant strain is H3N2, which can cause more serious illness.


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