A second person has died in Dallas County after contracting influenza.
Dallas County Health and Human Services Department confirmed the death on Friday of an 81-year-old woman from Grand Prairie. The woman's death comes just four days after the county confirmed the first flu-related death of the season, an unidentified 36-year-old person.
"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.
With rare exception, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the flu vaccine for everyone older than 6 months.
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On Tuesday, Dec. 10, DCHHS began offering 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."
So far, two pediatric deaths from the flu have been reported in the state, including a case in Tarrant County.
Flu numbers continue to rise in Texas, with widespread cases of Flu A and B in Dallas and Tarrant counties.
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