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State of Idaho: 13 influenza related deaths this season

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Health officials are seeing more confirmed cases of influenza related deaths at this point in the season, than in the previous seven seasons.

"The Department of Health and Welfare has received five new reports, in one week of Idahoans who have died of influenza related illness, bring the total of influenza related deaths to thirteen." said Randi Pedersen, the State Influenza Surveillance Coordinator. She said this year, so far appears to be the worst in seven seasons. "We're very concerned that we're seeing a lot of flu around the state and that it seems to be more severe than this year."

There are groups that are more at risk to flu related deaths than others. "At highest risk for flue related deaths, and hospitalizations are children under the age of five, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women. And those with certain medical conditions, such as asthma, heart of lung disease, or have weakened immune systems," said Pedersen.

Her simple tip of advice to avoiding the flu is to get vaccinated, but some say getting the flu vaccine does not prevent them from getting the flu. "Some people could be exposed to strain of the flu that isn't contained in the vaccine, or exposed to a strain that they just didn't mount a robust response to, but we still advocate that it really is the best prevention."

But when you get the flu shot, you're not only protecting yourself, but everyone around you. "We're very concerned, and people need to get their flu shots, as soon as possible to protect themselves and family."

Some other tips to preventing the flu, and washing your hands frequently, covering your cough, staying home when sick.... And getting plenty of fluids and rest.

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