Flu-related deaths across state almost double since past year

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They all died in Benton County.

According to Dr. Amy Person, a Health Officer for Benton and Franklin Counties, local flu activity is increasing and people should take precautions. While the flu season typically runs from October to May on the Mainland, Hawaii sees flu year-round, so it's never too late to get vaccinated.

The French flu follows the H3N2 strain, or "Aussie flu", which was partly responsible for a sharp rise in influenza-related GP visits going into 2018.

Four local flu deaths is high for this point in the season, she said.

Last season, the Tri-City area saw one flu death, with a total of 278 flu deaths across Washington.

Flu shots are offered at pharmacies, health care providers and the Health District.

Dr. Neelakanta said the best line of defense, is still the flu vaccine.

As for that vaccine expected to be only 10 per cent effective, Wright says even a little protection is still protection.

A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control found that, nationally, less than 40 percent of people had received the flu vaccine by early November.

"No you cannot get the flu from the flu shot, you could probably be having symptoms around the same time when you get a flu shot so you might think that you could have the flu from the flu shot", she said, explaining the shot itself isn't strong enough to get you sick. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

He advised that people wash their hands often, wear face masks and observe proper etiquette if they have a cough.

The Department of Public Health confirms that the trend is nationwide.

"Our data shows that more people are visiting Global Positioning System with flu symptoms and we are seeing more people admitted to hospitals with the flu".

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