Your Health

Santa Clara County reports first flu death of season

The flu has claimed the first local person under the age of 65 this season, the Santa Clara County Health Department reported this month. The individual was 39 years old and had medical conditions that placed him or her at an elevated risk for severe complications from the viral infection.

Citing medical privacy laws, health department officials could not provide additional information about the case, and they could not confirm whether the deceased had received a flu vaccination.

The county has thus far recorded four additional cases of severe flu in people under the age of 65 during the 2018-2019 flu season, stated a health department press release issued Jan. 8. During the 2017-2018 season, local officials marked 11 local flu-related deaths among members of that demographic.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms include a fever, cough and sore throat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age and older receive the flu vaccine, and it is especially important for pregnant women, children under 5, adults 65 and older and people with chronic medical conditions.

During the 2017-2018 flu season, 185 pediatric flu-related deaths were reported to the CDC, according to the institute. Approximately 80 percent of those children did not receive the flu vaccine.

Those who contract the flu are advised to remain home until symptom-free for 24 hours, the county health department advised. Cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands frequently with soap and warm water.

For additional tips, advisories and information, visit cdc.gov/flu.

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