The first flu-related death of the season is being reported in Northern Kentucky.
The Northern Kentucky Health Department says a Kenton County man died from complications of the flu. The department says the middle-aged man had a history of chronic health problems that may have made him more susceptible to flu.
So far this season, more than 330 cases of flu have been reported in Northern Kentucky.
More from the Health Department's release:
“The loss of someone to the flu is a tragedy, and our thoughts go out to the individual’s family,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “We tend to forget just how serious influenza can be, particularly for those with other health problems. Flu can lead to serious complications and even death, as it did in this case.”
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a total of six children have died from flu through December 28. Though it doesn’t track adult flu deaths nationwide, the CDC estimated 6.5 percent of all adult deaths were attributable to flu or pneumonia (a common complication of flu) for the week ending December 28.
To date, more than 331 cases of flu have been reported in Northern Kentucky. Statewide, Kentucky is reporting widespread flu activity, meaning that outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.
“The flu virus has several strains, and the predominant one that we’re seeing this winter is the 2009 H1N1,” said Saddler. “This particular strain tends to affect young and middle-aged adults disproportionately when compared to other strains. If H1N1 continues to circulate, then we expect to see more people in these age groups getting severe respiratory illnesses this year. Fortunately, H1N1 is included in all flu vaccines, so if you’re vaccinated, you’ll be protected.”
To prevent the spread of the flu, the CDC recommends that individuals:
· Get a flu vaccine if you haven’t done so already. Vaccinations are available by appointment at the Health Department’s county health centers, as well as most medical offices and pharmacies. Adults over age 65 are also encouraged to get a pneumonia vaccination.
· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
· Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
In most instances, flu can be treated at home with fever-reducing medication, rest and liquids. Certain symptoms signal a more serious infection and require immediate attention. In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness or confusion
- Severe or persistent vomiting
For more information on flu, please visit http://www.nkyhealth.org/Seasonal-Flu.aspx