A Spokane County man died of the flu this week, marking the first Eastern Washington death from the virus this season.
The man, who was in his 60s, is the second flu death in Washington this year, the Spokane Regional Health District said in a news release.
Twenty-four Spokane County residents have been hospitalized with the flu so far this season. Last year, nine were hospitalized during the same period.
The Panhandle Health District reported a flu death in early October, signaling an early flu season. In Idaho, 43 people have tested positive for influenza statewide this season, according to reports from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
“Unfortunately, this is an example of how serious flu can be,” said Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane Regional Health District’s health officer, in the release. “Your best chance at protecting yourself and loved ones is to get a flu shot soon.”
People over 65, young children, pregnant woman, Native Americans and people who are immune-compromised due to medication or disease are at higher risk of flu-related complications.
The flu vaccine typically provides protection against the most common flu strains circulating within two weeks of vaccination.
Flu season in Spokane normally peaks in February.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.