Home Health care Delaware records first flu death as cases increase

Delaware records first flu death as cases increase

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 The Division of Public Health (DPH) reported the first flu-related death of the 2021-2022 flu season.

The individual was a 54-year-old Kent County female infected with influenza A who died in early April. She had underlying health conditions and was not vaccinated. Flu cases have been rising in recent weeks.

As of April 2, 2022, the most recent date for which flu statistics are available, there have been 1,194 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in Delaware for the current season. Of those cases, 623 have been confirmed in New Castle County, 210 in Kent County, and 361 in Sussex County.

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The numbers reflect only the number of lab-confirmed cases; the number of cases circulating statewide is likely much higher. Not all people with the flu seek treatment, and many cases are diagnosed through rapid tests in a provider’s office rather than a lab. While the early part of the flu season was relatively calm, cases have risen in the last several weeks.

The flu uptick comes as Covid-19 mask mandates came to an end and more people returned to their offices after working remotely.

“This is a sad and stark reminder that the flu is still very much with us and can be deadly,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased. Like many states, Delaware has seen an increase in flu cases recently. The prevention strategies are similar to the ones we encourage people to use with Covid-19.”F

In addition to staying home if you have flu-like symptoms and taking antiviral medication as directed, DPH recommends:

  • Practice social distancing by keeping your distance from well people if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Wear a well-fitting face covering if you feel ill and have to go out in public to a doctor’s appointment or pharmacy.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately; if no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow.

Social distancing means that those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school, and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F without fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours.

Those with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, health officials say you should call your primary care provider as he or she may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is especially important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant, or have chronic medical conditions, DPH advised.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, and fatigue. Some people get complications, including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. People with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are more susceptible to catching the flu.

Flu vaccines are still available at many pharmacies and grocery stores, through primary care physicians and some specialists. To find participating stores, enter your zip code in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s flu vaccine finder at www.cdc.gov/flu/.

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