Health & Fitness

Flu season is underway. Two people have died in Kansas, health officials say

Sedgwick County health officials have received their first reports of influenza cases in the county and two people statewide have died from the flu.

The first of a few confirmed cases in the area was reported in the last couple of weeks, but there is no large increase in cases at this time, said Chris Steward of Sedgwick County’s Division of Health.

“Each flu season is different and unpredictable,” Steward said. “However, each year people get sick with the flu. Some are hospitalized and some die. Sedgwick County Division of Health wants people to protect themselves. Get a flu shot; wash your hands; cover your cough, clean and disinfect surfaces and stay home if you become ill.”

For the 2018-19 flu season, two deaths in Kansas have already been directly attributed to influenza as of Monday, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports. Pneumonia has been the direct cause of death in another 38 deaths, and the flu or pneumonia have been contributing factors in an additional 132 deaths.

The 2017-18 flu season was one of the deadliest in recent memory. In Kansas, 193 deaths statewide were directly attributed to the flu. In all, influenza and pneumonia directly caused or contributed to about 1,700 deaths in Kansas. That was the most the state had experienced in three years.

The state’s flu reporting season runs from Sept. 1 to May 31.

In last week’s KDHE flu report for Kansas, there were 101 outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses. The newborn to 4 years old age group had 29 reported cases for the first week of the flu season.

An increase in cases typically starts in December, the Sedgwick County Division of Health said in a news release. Flu shots are generally recommended for anyone age 6 months and older. Flu symptoms include a fever that lasts 3-4 days, body aches, chills, tiredness, cough and headache.

Free flu shots to uninsured adults age 19 and older and to children age 18 and younger with CHIP, Medicaid, Amerigroup, United Healthcare or Sunflower are available at the Division of Health clinic at 2716 W. Central, the release said. A sliding fee scale based on proof of income may be applied for uninsured children. For more information call 316-660-7300.

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