The Spokane Regional Health District announced today that
they have received confirmation from the Washington State Department of
Health's laboratory of the County's first case of influenza. The lab results
show that influenza is indeed present in our area, and serves as a reminder
that vaccination and simple hygiene practices are important to staying healthy
this time of year.
"Influenza can be a very serious, even deadly disease,"
said Mark Springer, epidemiologist for the Health District. "There is plenty of
safe and effective vaccine available, and we urge everyone to protect
themselves this flu season."
Last year about a hundred Spokane
County residents died from
complications of influenza, and thousands were sickened. Many people mistake
common, less serious cold viruses for influenza. Influenza can cause fever,
body aches, coughing, headaches and can cause serious illness in the very
young, the elderly and in people with an underlying health conditions.
The Center's for Disease Control and Prevention recommends
flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Vaccinations are
available at most doctors' offices, many pharmacies and at the Health
District's Public Health Clinic (324-1600). Additional precautions include:
frequent hand washing, using your sleeve instead of your hand when covering
coughs and sneezes, avoiding people who are sick and staying home when you are