Secondary Infections to blame for flu deaths - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Secondary Infections to blame for flu deaths

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By: Kayla Bremer

Doctors say secondary infections are to blame for the two flu–related deaths reported in Lancaster County.

It's the most cases doctors have seen at this time of year in more than a decade.  For most, the flu causes a miserable couple of days but some are at risk for secondary infections.

The most common are sinus infections and bronchitis, but doctors are most worried about pneumonia.

"If you feel like you're getting worse instead of better, that's the time to let somebody know," Dr. Thomas Martin said.  "Check it out further to determine if you may be getting a secondary problem."

Dr. Martin says most people can tolerate the illness, but for some with weak immune systems, it can be deadly.

"Fortunately your not very likely to get secondary complications but the concerns are the very young and the very old and people with underlying problems such as asthma or emphysema."

If you haven't gotten the flu vaccine yet, it's not too late.  It's the peak of flu season and the number of people infected continues to rise.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 47 states are already experiencing widespread flu activity.

Again, two deaths have been reported in Lancaster County and health officials in Omaha are looking into a possible flu–related death of a 10–year–old boy.

"Flu has really peaked in the last two weeks," Dr. Martin said.  "It's interesting to compare with last year where we hardly had a flu season to this year which is one of the worst we've seen in a while."

Flu season hit around Thanksgiving, about a month earlier than normal this year.  Doctors say we still have about six weeks left.

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