The death of a 60-year-old Riverside man is considered the first flu-related death of this flu season in Riverside County, according to health officials.
The man, who recently died at a local hospital, tested positive for influenza. Last year, there were 23 flu-associated deaths in Riverside County of individuals 64 or younger. There were 80,000 flu deaths nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Riverside resident had recently been hospitalized and died at the facility earlier this week, according to health officials.
“This is a tragic reminder that the flu still kills,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County Public Health officer, said in a prepared statement. “We continue to recommend community members get their flu shot. Get your flu shot and get protected.”
While this individual did receive the flu vaccine, health officials believe that underlying health issues contributed to his death
There is still time to get the flu shot, Kaiser said, adding that the CDC recommends that all persons 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccination each year. Kaiser also recommends frequent hand washing and avoiding getting close to people who are sick as ways to avoid the flu. If you or your child are sick, stay home from work and school.
While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter, according to the CDC. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.
While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease, according to the CDC. In recent years, for example, it’s estimated that between about 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related death cases have occurred in people 65 years and older and between 54 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in that age group. So influenza is often quite serious for people 65 and older.
For more information on where flu shots are being offered throughout Riverside County, click here.