Posted: Jan 14, 2013 8:51 AM by MTN News
BOISE - Since Oct. 1, eight flu-related deaths have been reported in Idaho.
Idaho medical providers and hospitals have been reporting an increase in visits for influenza-like respiratory illnesses across the state, with the 2012-2013 influenza season shaping up to be more serious than the past several years, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Officials add that some hospitals in Idaho are reporting that emergency rooms are seeing more patients that need to be treated for common flu symptoms.
All eight of the Idaho deaths have been in people older than 50, with Idaho typically seeing about a dozen influenza-related deaths each year. The last severe season was 2003-2004, in which 28 influenza-related deaths were reported.
"The influenza vaccine is the best protection for you and your family," says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, deputy state epidemiologist. "The vaccine appears to be well-matched to the dominant flu strains circulating. If you have not been vaccinated, please don't wait any longer."
People who are at higher risk for complications from the flu or severe symptoms should consult with their healthcare provider within the first 48 hours of illness to see if the use of antiviral medications might be right for them.