IDHW: Gooding County man is Idaho’s first flu-related death of the season

Flu now widespread in 36 states, according to CDC
Posted at 10:29 AM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 12:29:48-05

GOODING COUNTY, Idaho — A Gooding County man over the age of 65 is the first reported influenza-related death of the 2021-2022 season. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) made the announcement Monday morning.

The flu is a contagious virus that causes respiratory illness between October and May. IDHW says it impacts five to 20 percent of the population every season.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue. IDHW says most people who get the flu recover after a few days, but some people may develop serious complications and even die.

During recent influenza seasons, IDHW says there are an average of 34 flu-related deaths in Idaho residents each season. Most of the deaths are among people over 65 years old.

“The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is reminding residents that flu is here, and it can be very serious,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Idaho influenza surveillance coordinator. “Influenza activity had been detected in Idaho and across the country ahead of the holiday season. With both influenza and the virus that causes COVID-19 circulating this season, we are concerned that the risk to Idahoans for both infections will increase as families and friends gather for the holidays. One important prevention measure to reduce serious respiratory illness for Idahoans is to get an annual influenza vaccine.”

Everyone over six months old should get an annual influenza vaccine, according to IDHW. Getting the vaccine is important for people at higher risk for serious flu-related complications.