INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana State Health Department has reported four flu-associated deaths in Indiana this season.
Health officials cannot talk specifically about the cases, but they are urging residents to take precautions amid a recent increase in flu-like illnesses throughout the state.
“It’s always heartbreaking to learn that someone died of the flu, and we are just now beginning to enter peak flu season,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams.
Influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract. It is spread by respiratory droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets. People can also become infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with influenza viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose.
Although anyone can get the flu, some people are at higher risk of flu-related complications such as pneumonia, hospitalization and death. High-risk individuals include pregnant women, young children (especially those too young to get vaccinated), people with chronic illnesses, people who are immune-compromised, and the elderly.
Flu symptoms include:
- Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
“Getting a flu shot is the best way to prevent this serious illness, so I hope any Hoosier who hasn’t received a vaccine yet will consider getting one.”
The health department recommends everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. It is especially important for healthcare workers to get a flu vaccine to reduce their risk of transmitting illness to their patients. The vaccine takes about two weeks to be fully effective.
There is no cure for the flu, but some medications can help ease symptoms. Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms is urged to contact their healthcare provider.
People experiencing symptoms of flu-like illness should wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with their hands and stay home when sick.