Health officials: flu season severe, vaccine best protection
3 Snohomish County residents die from flu
EVERETT - The flu is spreading and the worst of the season is predicted to come later this month as health officials call this flu season the most severe since 2009.
The Snohomish Health District reported last week that three people from Snohomish County died from the flu in recent days, including a 40-year-old woman from Bothell. All three had underlying medical conditions.
Since Nov. 1, the flu has put 53 people from Snohomish County into the hospital, Snohomish Health District figures show. Many of those people have since been discharged, health district spokeswoman Suzanne Pate said.
In King and Pierce counties last month three people died from the flu: a man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s from King County and a boy under 12 in Pierce County.
A flu expert with The Everett Clinic, Dr. Yuan-Po Tu, predicts this winter’s flu season will peak in the next two weeks.
The Everett Clinic figures show the flu started gaining heavy traction in December. More than 40 positive flu cases were identified each week in The Everett Clinic network since mid-December.
“This is a fair warning to everyone in the county that influenza is circulating in our community,” district health officer Dr. Gary Goldbaum said. Health officials are urging people to get a flu shot.
The shot is available for anyone 6 months or older. The shot begins protecting from influenza 10 to 14 days after vaccination, The Everett Clinic spokeswoman April Zepeda said.
The health district’s clinics in downtown Everett and Lynnwood will administer flu vaccines to adults for $30 and children for $15. FluMist nasal spray is available for children ages 2 through 18 who are healthy and not pregnant. The district offers discounts to qualifying low-income patients.
The Everett Clinic network has the same pricing; many pharmacies offer flu shots at varying prices.
The district recommends children under 9 years old should get a flu shot twice a year.
The flu vaccine is especially recommended for people 50 and older, women who are pregnant in any trimester, children under 9, or anyone living in long-term care facilities.
The Snohomish Health District has administered about 1,000 adult flu vaccines this year and has approximately 1,000 doses on hand, said Rita Mell district immunization program manager. “No shortages and more can be ordered.”
In The Everett Clinic network, “this flu season we administered approximately 34,000 doses of flu vaccine to adults and 14,000 doses to pediatric patients,” Zepeda said. The clinics administered 10,000 more doses than last year, she said.
To find a flu shot provider close to you, try the website www.flu.gov/individualfamily/vaccination/locator.html.
Snohomish Health District clinic hours, information:
• SHD Everett Immunization Clinic, 3020 Rucker Ave, Suite 108, Everett, WA 98201. 425-339-5220 for an appointment: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mon-Wed-Fri; closed on weekends and holidays.
• SHD Lynnwood Immunization Clinic, 6101 200th Ave SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036. 425-775-3522 for an appointment: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tue-Thu; closed on weekends and holidays.
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