Idaho has recorded 15 flu-related deaths since the beginning of the flu season on Oct. 1. All of those who died were adults over the age of 50.
Southwest Idaho has reported 10 deaths; North Idaho has reported one; eastern Idaho has reported two. Two people who died in Idaho from flu-related complications were not residents.
Idaho typically experiences approximately a dozen flu-related deaths each year. The last severe season was 2003-2004, in which 28 flu-related deaths were reported, according to Idaho Department of Heath and Welfare.
Influenza can cause severe illness, especially for certain high risk groups, including those who are pregnant, those who have diabetes, asthma and heart disease, those with compromised immune systems, and the elderly. People who are at higher risk for complications from influenza should consult with their healthcare providers within the first 48 hours of illness to see if the use of antiviral medications might be right for them.
In addition to getting an influenza vaccination, IDHW also recommends washing your hands frequently with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and avoiding others who appear ill.
Health officials recommend anyone who has the flu visit the doctor or emergency room if severe symptoms develop including fever above 100 degrees, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, bluish or gray skin color, pain or pressure in the chest or stomach area, sudden dizziness, confusion, dehydration, severe or persistent vomiting,fatigue, confusion or having flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and more severe cough.