All had underlying health problems. Statewide total is now 8.
The Division of Public Health announced three recent flu-related deaths, bringing the total number of deaths for the 2018-19 season thus far to eight.
The most recent victim is an 83-year-old man from New Castle County, with underlying health conditions, who passed away this week.
Last week, a 41-year-old New Castle County woman with suspected underlying health complications and a 74-year-old Sussex County woman with multiple underlying health conditions passed away due to complications from the flu.
Of the eight individuals who have passed away this season, they range in age from 41 to 83. Five persons were from Sussex County, one was from Kent County and three were from New Castle County. All were infected with Influenza A.
The Division of Public Health continues to encourage residents to get their flu vaccine if they have not done so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that influenza is widespread in most of the country and expects significant flu activity to continue for weeks. It is not too late to get a flu vaccine.
“We are deeply saddened to learn about the most recent Delawareans who have lost their lives as a result of the influenza virus this season,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “It is important that we all take precautions to prevent catching and spreading the flu. The first and best way to protect yourself from the flu is by getting your annual flu vaccine and making sure everyone in your family has received it, as well. The flu vaccine protects against up to four strains of the virus and can help lessen the severity of symptoms if you do become sick.”
Flu vaccines are still available at State Service Centers, primary care providers and specialists, pharmacies, and some grocery stores. To find participating stores, enter zip code in the CDC’s flu vaccine finder at cdc.gov/flu. For more information about the flu, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 800-282-8672. The CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine, including inactivated influenza vaccine, recombinant influenza vaccine or live attenuated influenza vaccine. For questions about which vaccine is best, talk to a doctor or other health care professional.
Flu shots are available at DPH clinics located within the State Service Centers:
— Porter State Service Center, 509 W. 8th St., Wilmington. For all ages 9 and older. Walk-ins are welcome from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
— Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Call 283-7587 (choose option 2) to make an appointment Monday through Friday.
— Williams State Service Center, 805 River Road, Dover. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Call 857-5140 to make an appointment from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
— Milford State Service Center - Riverwalk, 253 N.E. Front St., Milford. For ages 9 years and older. Call 424-7130 to make an appointment from 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays and 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays.
— Anna C. Shipley State Service Center, 350 Virginia Ave., Seaford. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Walk-ins welcome from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Call 628-6772.
— Adams State Service Center, 544 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Walk-ins welcome from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursdays only.
For more about flu surveillance in Delaware, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dph/epi/influenzawkly.html.
In addition to getting a flu vaccine and taking antiviral medication, DPH recommends:
— Practice social distancing if exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms.
— Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
— Cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately; if no tissue is available, sneeze or cough into inner elbow.
— Stay home if sick until free of fever for 24 hours — with a temperature of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours.
Social distancing means that those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever — with a temperature less than 100 F without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours. They should avoid close contact with well people in the household, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if influenza is suspected, call a doctor, as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.
Flu symptoms come on suddenly and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Some get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections. People with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are more susceptible to catching the flu.
For more about the flu, visit flu.delaware.gov or call DPH at 800-282-8672.