PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - A middle-aged Pueblo County woman has died from influenza, public health officials announced Tuesday. This was the first hospitalized flu case in Pueblo.
Dr. Joshiah Gordon DO, MSc of Pueblo Pulmonary Associates cared for the patient in the hospital. Her name has not been released. The woman passed away from the flu and its complications, doctors said.
Dr. Gordon stated, "My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost a dear friend and family member. Most people who get the flu do not have severe complications but flu can be unpredictable and strike suddenly. Patients at high risk, including those with diabetes, the very young and the very old, and especially those with underlying lung disease, are at a particularly high risk."
Health officials say it's not too late to get a flu shot. Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods, public health director at the Pueblo City-County Health Department says that this year's vaccine is a good match to the flu strains circulating in the nation. It is readily available at doctors' offices, pharmacies and grocery stores around Pueblo.
There have been over 100 hospitalized cases of the flu in Colorado already and the flu season has arrived about four weeks earlier than usual.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates up to 36,000 Americans die from a flu-related illness annually.
Some people are at higher risk for complications from flu. These include:
" Pregnant women
" Children younger than five
" Adults 65 and older
Complications from flu may include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections and death. Flu may also worsen existing conditions such as asthma or chronic congestive heart failure.
Public Health recommends everyone over six months of age receive flu vaccine, especially people who are at high risk of developing flu-related complications or live with or care for people at high risk. Vaccination against flu helps protect yourself and the most vulnerable people in the community (such as newborns, pregnant women, the elderly, or other respiratory illness such as asthma, and those going through chemotherapy).
"When you experience symptoms of the flu stay home until 24-hours after your fever is gone, without the help of fever reducing medicines," encouraged Dr. Nevin-Woods. This limits the spread of the virus.
Call 2-1-1 for information on upcoming community flu vaccine clinics.
Additional information about influenza is available on the website www.flu.gov.