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LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting an increase in flu activity in Clark County as well as the 2017-2018 season’s first flu-related child death. The death happened in a child in the 0-4 age group. As of November 11, there were a total of 78 confirmed influenza cases reported to the Health District. Flu cases are reported on a weekly basis. During the past reporting period, the percentage of emergency department visits for influenza-like illnesses was considered to be at a warning level, and approximately 43 percent of emergency department visits for influenza-like illness were children in the 0-4 age group. The Health District is reminding Southern Nevadans that flu season typically peaks in January and February and there is still time to receive a flu vaccine. For information about the Health District’s flu vaccine clinics call (702) 759-0850 or visit the Health District’s Flu Clinic page.

“A flu-related death is a tragic reminder that influenza can be a serious illness,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District. “Young children, older adults, and people with certain health conditions may be more at risk for complications. With the holiday season approaching, we want to remind everyone to get a flu shot, and to practice healthy habits to protect yourself and your family,” Dr. Iser said.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for full protection to set in. Flu vaccination reduces flu illnesses and can prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Every year seasonal flu viruses cause substantial illness and death in the United States, much of which could be prevented with vaccination and other preventive measures. The Health District encourages everyone to get flu vaccinations, especially persons at high-risk of complications from the flu including children younger than 5 (children younger than 2 years old are at highest risk), adults 65 years of age and older, and pregnant women.

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

*Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

*If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you’re sick. You will help prevent others form catching your illness.

*Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around your from getting sick.

*Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

*Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

*Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is sick. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

During the 2016-2017 flu season, Clark County reported 13 deaths, 476 hospitalizations, and 713 confirmed cases. Flu surveillance continues through the end of May.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the flu has caused between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010. For more information visit the CDC’s Disease Burden of Influenza webpage.

States are not required to report individual seasonal influenza cases or deaths of people older than 18 year of age, and seasonal flu is infrequently listed on death certificates of people who die from flu-related complications. Many seasonal flu-related deaths happen one or two weeks after a person’s initial infection. The ill person may develop a secondary infection, such as bacterial pneumonia, or the flu may aggravate an existing medical condition, such as congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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