The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today confirmed that two deaths have recently occurred in Lancaster County related to influenza, and the number of flu cases is very high. Health Director Judy Halstead said the adult and child who died were not immunized, and she strongly recommends that all individuals age six months and older have a flu immunization as soon as possible if they have not done so already.
Influenza is a highly infectious disease of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness and lead to death. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, chills and achiness. Vaccination is the primary method for preventing influenza, and full protection occurs about two weeks after vaccination. Those needing a vaccine should contact their health care providers or find a community flu immunization location. Flu vaccination is especially important for those at high risk of having serious complications and those who live with or care for people at high risk. They include:
It's also important for individuals living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to get vaccinated. People who care for those at high risk for complications from flu include:
Individuals also can reduce their risk of getting and spreading influenza by staying home when they have symptoms and by avoiding people who have symptoms. It's also recommended that individuals wash hands thoroughly and frequently and cover their mouths and noses with a tissue or sleeve when they cough or sneeze.
The LLCHD will provide flu vaccine to low-income, uninsured adults and certain uninsured children. To be eligible for a flu vaccine at the Health Department, children must be between six months and 18 years of age and age and meet one or more of these criteria:
LLCHD requires appointments for flu vaccinations. For more information, call 402-441-8065 or visit lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: health).