State Health Officials Warn of Increase in Flu Deaths


An increase in flu-related deaths has Indiana health officials urging residents to get vaccinated. The Indiana State Department of Health says 19 Hoosiers have died from the virus since October, including two children. They say many of those people did not get a flu shot.

Health officials recommend that everyone 6 months of age or older gets vaccinated if they haven’t already, since flu season typically continues until May. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this year’s vaccine is 59 percent effective, which is among the highest rates they’ve seen.

People with the highest risk of suffering major complications from the flu include pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses, and the elderly. Influenza viruses can be caught by inhaling droplets spread when people who have the flu sneeze or cough. People can also get infected by touching contaminated objects and then touching their eyes, mouth, or nose. In addition to getting a flu shot, health officials say you can prevent the spread of the flu and other diseases by washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze, and staying home if you’re sick.

More information on the flu can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health website.