Two Lewis County residents — both over the age of 65 and with underlying health conditions — are the first deaths linked to influenza this season in the county, according to a news release from Lewis County Public Health & Social Services
Both individuals died the week of Christmas.
After an early spike, flu illness prevalence seems to be receding, but flu season in Washington can continue through April.
“We are saddened by the loss of our community members and extend our deepest condolences to their families and friends,” said Meja Handlen, director of Lewis County Public Health & Social Services.
Compared to previous seasons, flu activity across the state began earlier and increased more rapidly this season, according to the county.
“The best defense against flu is getting yourself and everyone in your family over the age of 6 months vaccinated every year,” Lewis County Health Officer Dr. Joe Wiley said in the release. “Even if you think you’ve already had the flu this season, I still recommend getting the flu shot as you are still at risk for getting another strain.”
For vaccine location information, contact your primary care provider, community health clinic or pharmacy or go to www.vaccines.gov or call 1-800-322-2588.
“It is important that we work together as a community to protect not only ourselves, but populations such as young children, older adults, pregnant people and people with underlying health conditions who are more vulnerable to severe illnesses and complications from influenza,” Wiley said.
Additional ways to prevent and protect others this flu season include staying home when you are feeling sick, washing hands regularly and wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask when in indoor public spaces, according to Lewis County Public Health & Social Services.