Indiana reports one flu-related death

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The state of Indiana is reporting one death from the current flu season.

In its influenza activity report from Dec. 12, the Indiana State Department of Health says a person between the ages of 5 and 18 died from a flu-related illness. The report does not give any information about the location or other circumstances of the individual who died.

That was the only flu-related death so far this season.

The age group most affected by the flu, according to the Dec. 12 report, are people between the ages of 5-24 (54 percent), followed by the 25-49 age group (28 percent). The flu poses the greatest threat to the very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

About the flu - Learn about symptoms and treatments

How the flu spreads

Person to Person

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

(To avoid this, people should wash their hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.)

The Flu Is Contagious

Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.