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January 10, 2014

DOH: 1 flu related death reported

Over a dozen cases of influenza have been reported within last two weeks

Live Oak —

The Florida Department of Health in Suwannee County has reported the death of a middle-aged Suwannee County woman as a result of influenza, FDOH-Suwannee County Nursing Director Wanda Crowe said. Over a dozen cases of influenza have been reported so far from local medical providers within the last couple of weeks. 

Crowe said there have been no cases of swine flu reported, however, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist here. 

“Most providers do not test for H1N1 (known as swine flu),” Crowe said. “They may not test for it but treat it systematically. We wouldn’t know (it existed) unless it’s something they test for.”

Crowe said local providers are not required to report cases to the department of health.

According to FDOH, influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. 

Besides routinely washing hands and avoiding contact with infected people, vaccination is the single best way to protect against the flu. Flu shots are available for everyone six months of age or older. 

According to the Florida Department of Health, flu symptoms consist of: body aches and pains; cough and chest discomfort which may become severe; early and significant exhaustion; fatigue and weakness that may last up to 2-3 weeks; headache; high fever (102-104 degrees) for three to four days; and occasional stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. 

To prevent getting the flu, the FDOH recommends taking the following steps: Get vaccinated; wash your hands often - the most common way to catch the flu is to touch your own eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands; keep your hands away from your face; keep your distance from others when you are sick and if you are around someone else who is sick; stay home if you are sick; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and coughing; if you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands; be aware you can still spread germs up to seven days after getting sick; and finally, Vaccinate - get your flu shot. Additionally, Pneumococcal vaccine is available and recommended for persons at increased risk for serious Pneumococcal infection, including those age two years or older with certain chronic medical conditions and all persons aged 65 years or older.

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