Tulare County health officials reported the county’s first flu-related death of the season Wednesday.
“With great regret, I must inform the community of this death from influenza,” said Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County’s health officer. “Public health is our first priority, and so I’m strongly encouraging community members to get vaccinated and help prevent the spread of flu.”
Influenza has been widespread in the Valley and California. Fresno County has had two flu-related deaths. Statewide 40 people have died as of Feb. 4, according to the California Department of Public Health. Reportable deaths are for people through age 64. Deaths due to influenza in persons age 65 and older are not reportable and therefore not tracked.
With great regret, I must inform the community of this death from influenza.
Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County health officer
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Haught said in order to prevent getting the flu and spreading it, people should get vaccinated every year, stay home when you have flu symptoms, wash your hands often, cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
People with serious flu symptoms should see a doctor, she said. Adults may experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, dizziness, confusion, vomiting, and dehydration. Children may experience hyperventilation or difficulty breathing, vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, irritability and restlessness, and infants may experience a decreased appetite and dehydration. And a fever returning after the illness has resolved indicates a need for medical care.
Pregnant women and people with other risk factors for complications from the flu – children age 5 or younger and people with diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease – should talk to their doctors about antiviral medication.
Flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices, local clinics and pharmacies. The Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency’s immunization program also provides the vaccine.