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Seasonal Flu Death Reported in Northern Kentucky

January 4, 2013

A Campbell County man has died from complications of the flu, the Northern Kentucky Health Department reported today. The individual had a variety of underlying medical conditions. It is the first death in Northern Kentucky from the virus this season.

“The loss of someone to flu is a tragedy, and our thoughts go out to the individual’s family,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “We tend to forget just how serious influenza can be, particularly for those with other health problems. Flu can lead to serious complications and even death, as it did in this case.”

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a total of 16 children have died from flu through December 22. Though it doesn’t track adult flu deaths nationwide, the CDC estimated 6.5 percent of all adult deaths were attributable to flu or pneumonia (a common complication of flu) for the week ending December 22.

To date, more than 550 cases of flu have been reported in Northern Kentucky. Statewide, Kentucky is reporting widespread flu activity, meaning that outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.

To prevent the spread of flu, the CDC recommends that individuals:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Get a flu vaccine if you haven’t done so already.

Vaccinations are available by appointment at the Health Department’s county health centers, as well as most medical offices and pharmacies. Adults over age 65 are also encouraged to get a pneumonia vaccination.

In most instances, flu can be treated at home with fever-reducing medication, rest and liquids. Certain symptoms signal a more serious infection and require immediate attention.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness or confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

For more information on flu, please click here.