Vaccination healthcare concept. Hands of doctor or nurse in medical gloves injecting a shot of vaccine to a man patient

The state Department of Health and Welfare recommends everyone 6 months or older get a flu vaccine every year, and that people who are sick seek medical attention and stay home. DHW also recommends covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing and washing your hands frequently.

Two Idaho children have died of flu-related causes this season, one in eastern Idaho and one in northern Idaho, and the state Department of Health and Welfare is investigating reports that a third child, also from eastern Idaho, died from flu-related causes, writes Post Register reporter Nathan Brown.

Until now, two Idahoans, both women over the age of 70 in northern Idaho, had died from the flu so far this flu season in what had been a slower start to the season locally than last year. One flu-related death had occurred among children in Idaho in the last five years, DHW said, making the recent deaths unusual.

”Our hearts go out to the families of these children," Dr. Christine Hahn, medical director for DHW's Division of Public Health, said in a statement. "This flu strain appears to be impacting some children in Idaho heavily, and we want to make sure that Idahoans are taking precautions to stay safe this flu season. Influenza illness has been increasing in Idaho and around the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted they have seen more pediatric influenza deaths than usual by this time of year. If you or your children are sick with the flu, contact your medical provider; there are medications that can reduce the severity and duration of the illness." You can read Brown's full report here at postregister.com.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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