Delaware’s first confirmed influenza-related death of the current flu season has been reported by state health officials – a 56–year-old Kent County man.
Delaware Public Health said Wednesday that the man was infected with influenza B, and had underlying health conditions.
“This tragedy reminds us that while we are diligently fighting COVID-19, we cannot forget about influenza as it also can be extremely dangerous and deadly, particularly to individuals who already have weakened immune systems,” DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said. “We are keeping this person’s family in our thoughts as well as everyone battling illness in this difficult time. We encourage Delawareans to get their flu vaccines if they have not done so already and to make sure everyone in their family gets theirs, too. The vaccine will lessen your likelihood of getting the flu and can lower the severity of your symptoms if you catch it. You should also take antiviral medicines if your primary care provider prescribes them.”
As of December 19th, there had been five lab-confirmed cases of the flu in Delaware: one in Sussex County and two each in Kent and New Castle Counties. Actual cases may be much higher, because not everyone who gets the flu seeks treatment.
For information about influenza and flu vaccine availability in Delaware, please visit www.flu.delaware.gov
DPH provided additional flu prevention tips:
Stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.
Practice social distancing to reduce your chance of catching the flu from someone else.
Wear a face covering if you have to go out in public to a doctor’s appointment or pharmacy.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately; if no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow.