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Posted on: December 15, 2022

First Flu Death Reported for the 2022-2023 Flu Season

Northeast Tri County Health District received notification of the first flu-related death for the 2022-2023 flu season. An adult in Stevens County over the age of 50 passed due to complications from influenza during the second week of December.  The person tested positive for influenza A and negative for COVID-19. To protect the privacy of the family and individual, no further details will be released. 

Influenza cases and deaths were low during the 2021-2022 season with 2 different waves, the first in December-January and second peaking March-May, with one death reported during the 2021-2022 flu season. 

The 2022-2023 influenza season has seen high activity early in the season, along with other circulating viral illnesses, like RSV and COVID-19.

CDC recommends flu vaccination every year for everyone six months and older. Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection with the flu. Vaccination can also make illness milder for those who do get the flu, making it especially important for those at higher risk of more serious outcomes, such as those 65 years and older, children under 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
  

The combined impact of high number of individuals ill with the flu, RSV, and COVID-19 is creating considerable impacts on hospital capacity in eastern Washington. Given the current rates of transmission and impacts on area hospitals, the following precautions should be taken to protect against the spread of flu, RSV, COVID-19 and other viruses:

  • If 65 and older or immunocompromised we strongly encourage wearing a mask when out in public in congregated settings. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly.
  • Stay home when sick, except to seek medical care or testing and take steps to avoid spreading infection to others.

Individuals who feel ill should call ahead before going to a doctor’s office, or urgent care to avoid exposing others. COVID-19 and flu symptoms are similar. Flu symptoms include:

  • Sudden onset 
  • Fever
  • Cough and/or sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

More information about flu can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/index.html

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