Flu death toll in Idaho rises to 21, including 2 children

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by Stephanie Zepelin

NWCN.com

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 4:19 AM

BOISE -- Idaho's death toll from flu this season keeps rising. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports 21 flu deaths since October, two of those who died were under age 18, the rest were all folks over 50.

The State Deputy Epidemiologist, Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, said this season's flu strain tends to effect older people, those with a compromised immune system, and those with underlying medical conditions. However, Dr. Tengelsen said no one is safe from the flu.

While she said, flu cases are dropping off in the Eastern U.S., that's not the case here.

"Cases are still on the rise in the Western part of the United States, so it's kind of moving across the county. So we feel like it will probably be here a few more weeks at a minimum," said Dr. Tengelsen.

Dr. Tengelsen said a flu shot takes 10 days to two weeks to go into effect, and she recommended you and your kids get vaccinated. However, getting a flu shot might not be enough to keep you and your family from getting sick.

"It's really important for parents to think about vaccinating their children. Now we know flu is still circulating the community, so as long as flu is here, we should be reminded that the vaccine is still an important part of prevention."

Dr. Tengelsen said the vaccine is not 100 percent effective. She recommended washing hands often and staying home if you are sick.

If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, it's not too late. This Thursday, there is a free flu shot clinic open to the public at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Boise. Walk-ins are available between four and seven.

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