Thurston County reports first flu death

Health officials have reported the first flu-related death in Thurston County. A 23-year-old woman has died due to complications from the flu.

"This young woman's death is a sad reminder that the flu must be taken seriously," said Dr. Diana Yu, Health Officer for Thurston County. "We're encouraging unvaccinated people of all ages to talk to their doctor about getting a flu vaccine. It's not too late to get vaccinated."

So far this season, 28 flu-related deaths have occurred in Washington in King, Snohomish and Thurston counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the best way to protect yourself against the flu virus is to get vaccinated. Seniors, pregnant women, children younger than five, people with chronic medical conditions like asthma or heart disease, and people who work in healthcare, senior care, and childcare are all strongly encouraged to get a flu vaccine.

Dr. Yu says you can prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses by covering your mouth and nose; coughing or sneezing into your elbow or with a tissue; staying home if you are sick; and washing your hands often with soap and warm water. When hand washing is not possible, Dr. Yu advises using antiseptic hand gels that contain alcohol.