Indiana records first flu-related death of the season

Published:
Updated:

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana has recorded its first flu-related death of the 2018-19 season.

"We don't typically see flu-related deaths this early in the season, but flu viruses circulate year-round and can have heartbreaking consequences at any time," Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box said in a statement. "With influenza activity beginning to increase, I encourage anyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot to get one to help protect themselves and their loved ones."

This death comes five weeks earlier in the year than the first death last year, when 336 Hoosiers died flu-related deaths. The health department didn't say where this victim was from, but said he or she was 65 years old or older.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. Dr. Box said that because infants under 6 months can't be vaccinated, it's important that anyone in a household where a young baby lives or visits get a flu shot to protect the child. Healthcare workers also are urged to get a flu vaccine to reduce their risk of transmitting illness to their patients.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so the CDC recommends early vaccination. However, the flu vaccine can be administered at any time during the season, which typically runs from October through May.

Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • fever of 100° Fahrenheit or greater
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose