Nebraska health department reports flu deaths
Two people have died from flu-related complications so far this season, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Health officials said both people were over age 65. One was from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department area and the other was from the North Central District Health Department area which covers Antelope, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Holt, Keya Paha, Knox, Pierce and Rock Counties.
DHHS said flu activity is slowly increasing across Nebraska.
“Flu can be a life-threatening disease for some people and it can make any of us sick. All it takes is getting the flu once and you have a whole new appreciation of its health importance,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist with DHHS. “Flu vaccine is our best protection against the flu and it’s recommended for everyone 6 months and older.”
DHHS said certain people are at greater risk for serious complications, and it’s extremely important they receive vaccine:
- Young children
- Adults 65 years of age or older
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic lung disease (like asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions and certain other long-term health conditions
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
Health officials also said in addition to vaccination, people can take other steps to get protection from the flu and other winter illnesses:
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Stay home from school, work, family gatherings and social functions if you’re sick
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands
- Eat healthy and get plenty of rest
- Don’t smoke