SWDH announces first flu-related death reported in the region this year; It is not too late to get your flu vaccination


CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health officials announced the first reported flu-related death of the 2022-2023 flu season in the 6-county region it serves. The flu-related death was a male, over 65, from Canyon County.

“Influenza activity is on the rise in Southwest Idaho, but there is still time to protect yourself by getting the flu vaccine,” said Ricky Bowman, Program Manager for Southwest District Health. “Many people with influenza recover after a few days of discomfort, but some people may develop serious complications. Idaho has averaged 45 reported flu deaths each year over the past 5 seasons, with the majority being over the age of 65. This unfortunate incident serves as a gentle reminder to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus and is easily passed from person to person. It is primarily transmitted by the sneeze or cough of an infected person or by contact with contaminated surfaces. Typical flu symptoms include fever, head and body aches, fatigue, cough, and sometimes a sore throat and runny nose. If you are only mildly ill, you should not go to the emergency room. If you have flu symptoms and are considered high risk for complications and have questions about your illness, call your health care provider. If you experience emergency warning signs of flu, some of which are listed below, you should go to the emergency room.

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Chest pain
  • Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk)
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
  • Fever above 104°F
  • In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to rouse
  • Not urinating Severe muscle pain or weakness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen

This list is not all inclusive. Review CDC’s list at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/takingcare.htm and consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning. There are treatments for influenza, please call your provider to determine if treatment would be right for you.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu vaccination for everyone six months of age and older. An annual flu vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against flu and its potentially serious complications—especially for those who are at greater risk for serious illness. People at high risk of severe outcomes include people with chronic underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or neurological conditions; pregnant women; those younger than five years or older than 65 years of age; or anyone with a weakened immune system. A full list of high-risk factors is available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/. Healthy people should also be vaccinated to protect these vulnerable populations.

Bowman says it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body’s immune system to fully respond. For more information on the flu vaccine and to determine if it is right for you or your child, follow up with your provider or pediatrician.

In addition to getting vaccinated, Bowman suggests taking everyday preventive actions to protect you and your family during flu season.

These include:

  • Stay home from work or school when you are sick. Keep your distance from others to protect them from also getting sick. In turn, avoid people who appear sick.
  • Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth until you have washed your hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels, or other personal items.
  • Refrain from visiting a nursing home if you have flu-like symptoms.
  • Get plenty of rest, exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

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Media Contacts

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov


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