By ROBERT S. MERRILL
Public health officials across Idaho and in Franklin County are encouraging everyone who hasn’t received an influenza vaccination to get one because this year’s flu season has started earlier than in previous years.
And public health officials are reporting this past week that three women have died from influenza-related causes; one from Southeast Idaho and two from Southwest Idaho. All three were over the age of 50 and are the first reported flu-related deaths in Idaho this year.
It is especially important that people at high risk for complications from the flu and anyone in close contact to those people are vaccinated. People at higher risk include infants, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart disease, and people 65 and older, officials advised.
“The flu vaccine protects against three different strains of the flu that public health monitoring has indicated are likely to be circulating, so even if you’ve had the flu, you are still vulnerable to other strains of the virus.
“This flu vaccine this year is a great match to the circulating strains,” Turner said. “However, it takes about two weeks before peak antibody levels are reached and the vaccine’s protection is maximized. Unfortunately, only about a third of adults and 40 percent of children have received the flu vaccine so far this season. We’d really like to see an increase in vaccinations so people have a better chance at staying healthy.”
This story is sponsored by FCMC Free Battery Testing.
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