BOISE, Idaho – Public health officials say a 50-year-old north Idaho woman died recently due to influenza, the first reported flu-related death in the state this season.

“The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is reminding residents that flu can be serious,” Randi Pedersen, influenza surveillance coordinator, said in a prepared statement. “The most important action to take to prevent serious illness is to get a flu vaccine now.”

The department said in a news release Friday morning that the flu season last year “was particularly deadly, resulting in a record 101 influenza-related deaths in Idaho. That number was quadruple the average of 25 deaths each season over the last decade.”

 

Health professionals urge people to get vaccinated. Influenza can be especially dangerous for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, young children, and people older than 65.

"These people should get vaccinated because they are at higher risk of having serious flu-related complications."

The department said the seasonal flu vaccine protects against three or four influenza viruses this year, and that several different types of vaccine are available.

"This is a tragedy we want every family to avoid," Logan Hudson, nurse manager for South Central Public Health District, said in a statement sent to News Radio 1310. "We expect to see more influenza cases as we get into the winter months. It's not too late to protect yourself, and your family, by getting your flu shot."

Pedersen said people should take precautions to limit the spread of the flu:

  • 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 take part in physical activity to stay healthy.
  • Avoid people who appear sick.
  • Stay home from work or school when sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.