(LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As the coronavirus spreads across the U.S., local health officials say people should still be paying attention to the flu.
Earlier this week, the Southern Nevada Health District announced four new deaths, bringing the total to 35. According to UMC, there have been than 1,250 hospitalizations for the flu.
Health officials say we are past the peak of the flu season, but the flu season is still in effect and more people will get sick.
During an average year, the flu kills about 30,000 people and hospitalizes another 200,000 nationwide, according to the health district.
“It’s probably less deadly than COVID-19 but a lot of people do die every year. Even if it’s a small percentage of people who die from the flu — because so many people get — it this adds up to tens of thousands of deaths per year,” said Dr. Vit Kraushaar, medical investigator, SNHD.
The illness can hit anyone, but people in the age group 65 and up are at greater risk. Out of the 35 flu deaths reported in Clark County this season, one was a pediatric death.
“This year we have seen more hospitalization because of the flu, almost twice as many as a year ago,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief health officer, SNHD.
That means the flu is more severe in 2020. Getting vaccinated each year is the best way to protect yourself. Other measures are simple habits:
- Always cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. try to use your sleeve or a tissue as opposed to your bare hands.
- Wash your hands properly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Flu symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat, congestion and body aches.
- Flu shots are offered at the health district’s clinics.
“Never too late to get vaccinated,” Leguen said.
If you have the flu, you can be contagious one day before showing symptoms and up to five days after getting sick. That’s why it’s recommended to stay home if you’re sick.