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Flu season arrives early in Nebraska; state officials urge Nebraskans to get flu shot

December 19, 2018

LINCOLN - State health officials want Nebraskans to get their flu shot prior to the Christmas-New Year’s celebrations.

The flu season is upon us.

“It’s here and it’s here earlier than usual,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Tom Safranek tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I can’t say how severe it’s going to be, but we’re in that ramp up period.”

Safranek says flu season poses a very real health threat as we enter the holidays. Most vulnerable: those under five-years-old and those over 65-years-old as well as pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses, especially anything which limits lung capacity, such as asthma and COPD, but also for those with diabetes, heart disease, and neurologic conditions. Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should get vaccinated, according to Safranek.

Prevention is the key: wash those hands, eat healthy, get rest, and get that flu shot.

“Hopefully, you have a time in the middle of all your other pre-holiday activities to include that on your checklist,” Safranek says.

Safranek recommends the flu shot for any six-months-old and older.

Two flu-related deaths have already been reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services; one from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department area and the other from the North Central District Health Department area which covers Antelope, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Holt, Keya Paha, Knox, Pierce and Rock Counties. Both deaths involved people older than 65.

For more flu information, visit the DHHS website by clicking here.

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