Health district flu report: 20 flu-related deaths since December

KENNEWICK, WA — A Franklin County man in his 90s who died of influenza is the first reported death of the flu season in Benton and Franklin Counties as well as in Washington State.

Dr. Amy Person, Health Officer for Benton and Franklin Counties said that flu season has begun and that residents should take precautions. “The flu vaccine is still the best protection we have against influenza and anyone who hasn’t had their flu shot yet should do so as soon as possible,” said Dr. Person. “Everyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot to protect themselves and others.” Flu shots are offered at pharmacies, health care providers and the Health District.

In addition to getting vaccinated, flu prevention tips include washing your hands often, avoid touching your face, cover your cough, and stay home when you’re sick.

Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose Muscle or body aches Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)

Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Additional information is available from the Washington State Department of Health at https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/Flu.

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