CONROE, Texas – Montgomery County has reported its first flu-related death in the county for 2017-18 flu season. A 70-year-old man, who had multiple medical diagnosis, including Influenza A, died on Jan. 9.
The Montgomery County Public Health District reminds residents that the county is in the thick of the influenza (flu) season. The county is seeing an increase in the number of widespread cases.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or feeling feverish, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue or tiredness. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. Most people who get influenza will recover in several days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications as a result of the flu. People suffering from flu-like symptoms should visit a primary care physician or a medical provider in an effort to prevent further, more severe complications.
Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccinations can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu. In some cases, it can prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from the flu. Covering your cough and washing or sanitizing your hands is another way to reduce to spread of germs like flu.
Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine. People who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications include older people, very young children pregnant women and people with certain health conditions.
It is possible that you can get sick with the flu even if you have received the flu vaccine. Certain strains are chosen to be included in the vaccine each year. Flu viruses are constantly changing. Not every strain can be covered by the vaccine. Flu vaccines contain inactive influenza vaccine (IIV) and recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). This year, the nasal spray flu mist is not recommended.
People with egg allergies have new recommendations this year. People who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg can get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health. People who have symptoms other than hives after exposure to eggs, such as angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness or recurrent emesis; or who have needed epinephrine or other emergency medical intervention, can also get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health, but the vaccine should be given in a medical setting and supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions. People with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving their vaccine.
For more information about this year’s flu season, please go to the Center for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/flu.