Indiana reports 11 flu-related deaths
Indiana health officials are urging Hoosiers to get a flu shot after 11 people died from flu-related causes.
St. Joseph County reported the most deaths, with six. No other Indiana county has reported more than one death.
Health officials do not report counties with less than five deaths to respect the privacy of the victims and their families. In a change from last year's flu season, health officials say that all but one of the deaths occurred in individuals between the ages of 25 to 64.
IU Health announced Thursday plans to restrict visitors at its hospitals as a precautionary measure against the spread of flu. See details here.
From the Indiana State Dept. of Health:
There are two vaccine combinations available for the 2013/14 flu season. The trivalent vaccine offers protection against the three most common strains of influenza: H3N2, H1N1, and one type of Influenza B.
A new quadrivalent vaccine was released this year and includes a second Influenza B strain. The H1N1 strain appears to be predominant thus far in the 2013/14 flu season.
Flu vaccine can typically be found at local health departments, pharmacies and with health care providers.
About the flu vaccine
Flu vaccination is recommended for anyone 6 months of age or older. It is especially important for those at higher risk of complications related to the flu to get vaccinated. High risk individuals include pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses and/or compromised immune systems and the elderly.
State health officials also encourage influenza vaccination of health care workers, and household contacts and caregivers of children less than 6 months of age, as well as household contacts of people at high risk for flu complications.
Practice the "Three Cs" to help prevent spread of flu and other infectious diseases:
· Clean: Properly wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water
· Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze with your arm or a disposable tissue
· Contain: Stay home from school/work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading
Contact a health care provider if you experience the following influenza symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated:
· Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
· Muscle aches
· Sore throat