More flu deaths reported in Indiana, including one child


There are now 167 reported flu-associated deaths in Indiana this season.

That’s up from 136 a week ago.

The Indiana State Department of Health released its weekly report on Friday. The report is complete up to Feb. 3.

The report included the first reported death of a child age four or younger this season.

Most of the deaths have been people aged 65 or older.

Marion and Allen counties have the most reported flu deaths this year with a total of 13 reported deaths. Hamilton County remains second with nine.

New flu information for 2017-18

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

In 2017, a study in Pediatrics was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination also significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

What’s new this flu season?

A few things are new this season:

  • The recommendation to not use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) was renewed for the 2017-2018 season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use again this season.
  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses (the influenza A(H1N1) component was updated).
  • Pregnant women may receive any licensed, recommended and age-appropriate flu vaccine.
  • quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine (“Flublok Quadrivalent” RIV) is newly available this season. (Last season, only trivalent recombinant flu vaccine was available.)
  • A quadrivalent inactivated flu vaccine, “Afluria Quadrivalent” IIV, was licensed last season after the annual recommendations were published.
  • The age recommendation for “Flulaval Quadrivalent” has been changed from three years old and older to six months and older to be consistent with FDA-approved labeling.
  • The trivalent formulation of Afluria is recommended for people five years and older (from nine years and older) in order to match the Food and Drug Administration package insert.

When should I get vaccinated?

You should get a flu vaccine now if you haven’t gotten one already this season. It’s best to get vaccinated before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

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