LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — In a press release on Wednesday, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Two Rivers Public Health Department, Sarpy/Cass Health Department, and the Douglas County Health Department reported the first influenza-associated deaths this season.
The four flu deaths are all individuals over the age of 50:
- One had influenza B
- Three had influenza A, including one who had a co-infection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
- The individuals resided in Two Rivers Public Health Department, Sarpy/Cass Health Department, and Douglas County Health Department
DHHS offered additional health suggestions in the release:
Flu activity is currently elevated in the state. Getting the annual flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu. The vaccine can reduce flu-related illnesses, visits to the doctor, missed work or school and flu-related hospitalizations.
The flu vaccine is safe, effective, and rigorously tested. The most common reaction people may experience from the shot is soreness and redness at the injection site. After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the body to build immunity. Nebraskans can safely get a flu vaccine at many locations throughout the State. Vaccines.gov is also a resource for finding flu vaccines near you.
“The flu can be a life-threatening disease for some, and can get anyone sick,” said Dr. Matthew Donahue, State Epidemiologist. “Influenza is now spreading throughout the State in addition to COVID-19. If you get sick, stay home. The most effective prevention measure for the flu is the flu vaccine.”
In addition to getting vaccinated, prevention measures can also protect against the flu:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze. Throw the used tissue in a wastebasket.
- Practice non-pharmaceutical interventions. If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
- After coughing or sneezing, always clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels, or other personal items.
- Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.