Thurston County has reported its first flu death of the 2013-14 flu season: a man in his 50s.
"It appears this person was otherwise healthy and didn't have any of the typical risk factors, such as respiratory or heart problems," Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Rachel Wood stated in a news release.
Wood also stated that it is important for people of all ages to get a flu vaccine. "Getting vaccinated helps you, but it also helps prevent against the spread of the flu virus in the community," she said. "If you think you won't catch the flu, think again. It's not too late to get your flu vaccine."
Wood said Thurston County's flu death is the second in Washington state so far this flu season.
The news release also gives the following tips for preventing the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. When hand washing is not possible, use antiseptic gels that contain alcohol.
- Stay home from work if you are sick.
There are key differences between the common cold and influenza. While both infections usually cause coughing, a sore throat, sneezing or nasal congestion, the flu typically also includes a sudden fever, body aches and general fatigue or malaise.
See a doctor if your flu symptoms worsen or show signs of complications over time. Seasonal influenza kills about 36,000 people in the United States every year.