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High number of flu deaths so far this season

The flu has claimed the lives of 13 people so far this season. That’s higher than the amount of deaths at this point last season, which saw a high number of deaths.

While this year’s flu vaccine is covering some of the strains going around, it can’t cover them all.

“This year it’s matching better than it has in other years, but not as good as it has in some years,” Mike Taylor, a surveillance epidemiologist for Eastern Idaho Public Health, said. “And it’s really just the best that we can do. And it still is the best way to prevent influenza. So 30 or 40 percent match is still better than nothing.”

Eastern Idaho Public Health recommends the elderly get their flu shot. They get a higher dosage than younger people to protect them better. It’s also important for babies to get the shot.

“Young babies from six months and on, it’s their first dose, they need to get two doses,” Taylor said. “There’s a primer dose and then a four week wait until the second dose.”

Some ways to protect yourself from the flu are to cover your cough, wash your hands and stay home if you’re sick. The best way to prevent the flu is getting the flu shot.

“There are a lot of different components in the vaccine and there’s different viruses that circulate the communities of influenza,” Taylor said. “And so maybe even if you’ve already been sick with the flu, you should still get your flu shot because you can be protected from other strains and help protect other people.”

Health workers say it’s not too late to get the flu shot. Eastern Idaho Public Health says they still have the vaccine for anyone who needs it. You can find links to their locations here.

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