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First flu-related death in Pierce County this season is elderly man

Do your part to stop the spread of flu at home

What action – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – can you take to help slow the spread of illnesses like the flu?
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What action – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – can you take to help slow the spread of illnesses like the flu?

An elderly Pierce County man died from the flu Tuesday, the first death in an influenza season health officials are hoping won’t be as severe as last year.

The man was not identified. He was in his 70s and had chronic conditions that increased his risk from the flu.

This flu season could be similar to last season when Pierce County had 50 flu-related deaths, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

That’s as many as the previous three seasons combined. There were 15 in 2015-2016, 25 in 2014-2015 and 10 in 2013-2014.

Flu season typically lasts from October to April.

Here are a few things to keep in mind now that flu season has arrived:

▪ The virus is spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. Officials recommend washing your hands with soap, covering your mouth to sneeze or cough and staying home if you’re sick.

▪ Flu shots are recommended for everyone over six months old.

▪ Those who are at most at risk from the flu include seniors, children under 5, pregnant women and people with diabetes, asthma and other chronic illnesses.

▪ Seek medical help if your fever is over 100.4 degrees and has lasted more than four days; if your fever went away and returned two days later; if you’re coughing up mucus and blood; if your chest rattles when you take a deep breath; if you have fainting spells, dizziness or severe dry mouth; and if you’re urinating less.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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