First Hoosier of season dies of flu-related complications

FILE - This Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 file photo shows single dosage syringes of the Fluarix quadrivalent influenza virus vaccine in New York. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The first Hoosier of the 2016-2017 flu season has died, state health officials reported Wednesday.

“It’s heartbreaking every year to learn that a Hoosier has died from the flu,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, fatigue, cough, muscle aches, or a sore throat. But high-risk individuals, including pregnant women, children, the immune-compromised, those with chronic illness and the elderly, can even develop complications like pneumonia, sometimes resulting in hospitalization, or even death.

“Unfortunately, the flu can have serious and even deadly consequences, which is why it’s so important for people to get vaccinated,” said Adams.

Those who work in health care are especially encouraged to get vaccinated.

It’s easy to catch the respiratory infection — by exposure to the coughs and sneezes of an infected person or even by touching contaminated surfaces and then your own face — and just as easy to spread it to others.

While flu activity has been low so far this season in Indiana, officials are encouraging that everyone ages six months and older get vaccinated. “It’s especially important for anyone with a baby in the house to be vaccinated,” Adams said. “Babies under six months of age can’t be vaccinated, and that means they are especially susceptible to catching influenza from other unvaccinated family members.”

Health officials suggest practicing the “Three Cs” to curb the spread of flu:

  • Clean: Properly wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
  • Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze into your arm or a disposable tissue.
  • Contain: Stay home from school or work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading.

For more health and safety information, you can visit the Indiana State Department of Health.

If you lack health care coverage or access to a doctor, click here to check availability for the new Healthy Indiana Plan-HIP 2.0 or call 1-877-GET-HIP9 (438-4479).