H1N1 Flu Claims Second Victim, Not Too Late For Flu Shot

By  //  January 21, 2014

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THE FLU NOT THE SAME AS GETTING A COLD

ABOVE VIDEO: Five warning signs and symptoms of H1N1.

Dr. Heidar Heshmati: ‘Get the Flu Shot’

‘At the present time, we are seeing increasing activities for flu, especially H1N1 – the same one that caused an outbreak in 2009’

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA –  A woman who delivered a healthy baby last month died yesterday at Holmes Regional Medical Center as result of complications of the flu, according to Dr. Heidar Heshmati, Director of the Florida Department of Health Brevard County.

Vaccination reduces illness and death from flu so much that the government and some insurers are starting to grade the quality of hospitals and doctors by how well they immunize their highest risk patients and their own employees.

Vaccination reduces illness and death from flu so much that the government and some insurers are starting to grade the quality of hospitals and doctors by how well they immunize their highest risk patients and their own employees. (Shutterstock Image)

“The patient was in her mid-20s and became sick with the flu,” said Dr. Heshmati. “She was on life support since December and died over the past weekend.  This was the second case that died this season in Brevard because of flu.”

Dr. Heshmati said that Brevard County has two additional patients on life support in area hospitals. Both were positive for the H1N1 flu, the same one that caused an outbreak in 2009, and is covered by the available vaccine.

“All four people were unvaccinated against the flu,” said Dr. Heshmati.  “Personal hygiene is important to prevent flu, but the best protection is for people to get the flu shot.

"Fortunately, we do not have a shortage of flu vaccine, and the vaccine covers the circulating flu virus.  The ultimate recommendation for prevention of flu is to get the flu shot."

“Fortunately, we do not have a shortage of flu vaccine, and the vaccine covers the circulating flu virus. The ultimate recommendation for prevention of flu is to get the flu shot.”

“Fortunately, we do not have a shortage of flu vaccine, and the vaccine covers the circulating flu virus.  The ultimate recommendation for prevention of flu is to get the flu shot.”

Flu season typically runs from October through March.

The flu seems to be hitting young and middle-aged adults the hardest this year, rather than seniors or children, according to Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Influenza Division.

About 61 percent of the 2,622 flu-related hospitalizations this season have been for people between 18 and 64 years old, Jhung said. Typically, seniors 65 and older account for more than half of flu hospitalizations during a season.

HAVING THE FLU NOT THE SAME AS GETTING A COLD

Health First reminds the public the flu is a very serious and preventable disease for everyone in the community.

Dr. Jennifer Brady

Dr. Jennifer Brady

“It’s important to know having the flu is not the same thing as getting a bad cold,” said Health First Health Plans Vice President and Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Brady.

“They are both caused by viruses, but they are totally different in their symptoms and seriousness. Even though influenza is much more severe than a cold, it is preventable by getting an annual flu shot. The vaccination also helps to not spread the virus to family members as well as others.”

In the past four years, 257 people here in Brevard County have died from the flu. Across the country, more than 226,000 people are hospitalized each year from influenza and 36,000 of them die from it.

It’s estimated that getting the vaccination last year prevented 5 million cases of the flu and 40,000 hospital admissions.

Additional Important Flu Facts: 

Antiviral medications are not a substitute for getting the vaccine. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu.

The most recent CDC data showed that this season's flu-related child and infant deaths have already reached 18 on Dec. 29.

Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone aged 6 month and older. If you had the vaccine last year, it will not protect you for this year’s flu season. (Shutterstock image)

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone aged 6 month and older.  If you had the vaccine last year, it will not protect you for this year’s flu season.

There are a lot of misunderstandings and myths about the flu vaccinations. The vaccine injection will not give you a mild, or severe, case of the flu. The injection is made from dead viruses only.

The vaccine is safe, and also strongly recommended, for children and pregnant women. Influenza vaccines do not contain chemicals to ‘boost’ the potency of the shot.

Symptoms of the flu include headache, fever, severe cough, runny nose or body aches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your primary care provider immediately for guidance on treatment.

If you need further information, contact the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County, Epidemiology section at 321-454-7101.

RELATED STORY: CDC: Flu Vaccine Pays Big Dividends 

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