A fifth person has died in Dallas County after contracting influenza, the county health department says.
Dallas County Health and Human Services Department confirmed the death Tuesday of a 85-year-old resident of Cedar Hill. It is not clear if the patient had preexisting medical conditions.
“We have seen an early increase in flu activity in Dallas this season. While we cannot predict the severity or duration of the flu season from year to year, the best way to protect yourself and others is to get your flu vaccine", said Dr. Philip Huang, DCHHS Director and Health Authority.
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The death is fifth flu-related death confirmed by the county this season. The CDC estimates more than six million people have contracted the flu this season and that 3,000 people have died.
With rare exception, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the flu vaccine for everyone older than 6 months.
DCHHS offers free seasonal flu vaccines for children and adults. Clinic hours and locations can be found here.
"Getting flu vaccine is especially important for persons with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease—to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. Practicing everyday preventive actions can also help slow the spread of influenza and other respiratory illnesses. These steps include: frequent hand washing, covering your coughs/sneezes with a tissue or into your elbow and staying home if you have flu-like symptoms. Finally, if you do get sick with the flu, take antiviral medications if your doctor prescribes them."
Tips for Avoiding the Flu
- Get a flu vaccine every season, especially people at high risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- If you're experiencing flu symptoms, visit your doctor and begin taking antiviral medications to help you recover more quickly