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Overview of hospitalization and fatalities point
to importance of getting a seasonal flu vaccination.

 

Numbers from a recent influenza report paint a picture of just how dangerous and deadly the flu is according to local health officials. Statistics released from the Washoe County Health District 2016-17 Influenza Surveillance Report show that out of 2,408 laboratory confirmed influenza cases in Washoe County last flu sea­son, 312 (13%) were hospitalized for more than 24 hours and eight cases died.

Another statistic of concern is that six of the eight cases who died from influenza (75%) were unimmunized and three of five pregnant cases (60%) that were hospitalized were unimmunized.

“These statistics reenforce what the CDC and public health experts have been saying for years,” said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. “Getting a flu shot is the best prevention for catching the flu.” The CDC ranked Nevada as the lowest state in the country for influenza vaccinations with only one in three people getting flu shots. “Our rates for flu shots are under 34 percent which means that two out of every three people are unprotected and pose an increased risk of transmitting the disease to you,” Dick said.

There are several easy ways to get an influenza vaccination. To find locations where you can get a flu shot near you, visit www.influencenevada.org. Most pharmacies (even in grocery stores) offer vaccine and will accept insurance cards. Flu vaccines are required to be covered by your health insurance without charging a copayment or coinsurance. The Health District recommends that people take advantage of this service as soon as possible.


It takes two weeks on average after receiving the vaccine for it to become fully effective. However, many people will realize benefits from the flu shot within just a few days. Getting a flu shot will reduce your chances of becoming sick with the flu and passing it along to others. If you have received a flu shot it can also reduce the severity of symptoms if you do catch the flu.

The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills; coughing; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; muscle or body aches; headaches; fatigue; and sometimes, vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. If you or someone you know is suffering some of these symptoms they should consider medical attention especially if they are at high risk of complications. Those include children under five years-old, adults 65-years-old or older, and pregnant women.

More information about influenza can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm