First Flu-Related Death of Season Reported to DHHS

Lincoln – The first flu-related death this season was reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. It was an adult over 65 in the Southeast District Health Department area (Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson counties).

“Sadly an influenza-related death underscores the potential seriousness of the disease and the importance of vaccination to reduce the risk of illness, hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS.   

Last season, there were 58 flu-related deaths in Nebraska including two children.

Flu is currently circulating at very low levels in the state. One of the best ways to protect yourself is by rolling up your sleeve and getting a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

While flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications, and it’s especially important they receive vaccine:

  • Young children
  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with chronic lung disease (like asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions and certain other long-term health conditions
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

Flu vaccine is safe, effective and rigorously tested. Only injectable flu vaccine is recommended this season. The nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used due to concerns about its effectiveness according to the CDC. The most common reaction people may experience from a flu shot is soreness and redness at the injection site. After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the body to build immunity