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January 15, 2013

OUR VIEW: Flu season not messing around

The number of flu deaths in Indiana rose to 15 last week, as the state experiences what a health official calls a “moderately severe” outbreak.

Respiratory epidemiologist Shawn Richards of the Indiana State Department of Health told WIBC that five new deaths were reported between Wednesday and Thursday.

The deaths include two patients in separate long-term care facilities.

Flu season has hit earlier this year and could put Indiana on pace to exceed its average for virus-related deaths. Richards says the state typically sees seven to 30 flu deaths a year.

Health officials say it’s not too late to get flu shots. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immune response.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone 6 months and older should get a yearly flu vaccine. School-age children are at a high risk for contracting the flu. Ample supplies for influenza vaccine are available.

But remember, if a family member falls ill with flu-like symptoms, keep him or her at home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone.

No athletic event is too important. No job is so imperative.

As a parent, you have a responsibility to this community to isolate a sick child from others.

Ensure your family washes their hands often with soap and water. And implore them to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

Flu season is no fun. But if we all use common sense, we’ll get through it with the least amount of pain possible.

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