Washoe County Health District is reporting the first influenza-associated death in Washoe County for the current flu season: A male in his 60s with underlying health conditions.

This is the first flu-associated death since December of 2019. The latest influenza surveillance report (Week 2), reflects nine flu hospitalizations reported by sentinel providers, which include area hospitals and medical care providers. In contrast, during Week 2 of the 2019-2020 surveillance report (Page 66 of 100), there were three flu-associated deaths and 90 hospitalizations reported.

“We have seen far fewer flu hospitalizations and deaths reported than in previous years,” District Health Officer Kevin Dick said. “However, with COVID-19 still being transmitted in our community, the same mitigations measures apply and we strongly encourage you to get a flu shot. It’s not too late. Having a flu shot will help prevent getting the flu and also will lead to less-severe symptoms if you do get it.”

With the flu season extending into May, the Washoe County Health District strongly urges you and your family to get your flu shot, as it is not too late. Check with your healthcare provider, Immunize Nevada, local pharmacies or the Washoe County Health District, as these locations provide flu vaccinations.

If you anticipate receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, please be advised that there must be a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration with any other vaccine, including the flu shot.   

While the flu shot cannot be guaranteed to keep you from getting the flu, those who do get a flu shot typically experience less severe symptoms if they do get the flu and are more likely to recover faster than if they had not received immunization for flu.

There is antiviral medication available that may help reduce the severity and the duration of the illness – the sooner you can take these antivirals the better. In addition, if you are feeling ill, please do not prepare food for your holiday gatherings and try to limit your direct contact with persons at high risk for complications.

Persons considered to be at a higher risk include children under the age of 5, adults over 50, pregnant women and anyone with a chronic health condition. Vaccinating persons living with/caring for those considered high risk is also recommended. Healthy people can experience severe complications as well. People are also advised to stay home from work if sick and wash your hands with warm water and soap frequently.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seasonal influenza in the United States in lower than usual for this time of year.

The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here