EVERETT — Influenza’s spread seems to have ebbed slightly, but that doesn’t mean the influenza season is over.
Four more people have died in Snohomish County due to complications from the flu. That brings the season’s death toll to 27, the most of any county in Washington. King County was second highest, with 23 flu-related deaths.
Statewide, 151 people have died from influenza, according to state Department of Health data.
The most recent deaths in Snohomish County were two women from Marysville, one in her mid-60s and another in her late 60s; a woman in her mid-80s from Edmonds; and a woman in her mid-80s from Everett. All had health conditions that made them more vulnerable to the flu.
Other measures of local flu activity include 256 hospitalizations for flu-related illnesses and four long-term care facilities reporting flu outbreaks, said Heather Thomas, a Snohomish Health District spokeswoman.
“We expect the flu season to be here for several more weeks,” Thomas said. “It does go through spring on occasion. Last year we had flu deaths through May.”
Although flu activity remains high in Snohomish County, Washington seems to have gotten a bit of a break from influenza compared to much of the rest of the nation.
While flu activity remains high here, it is not continuing to rise.
Last year, when 45 people in Snohomish County died from the the flu, “we were hit much harder than the rest of the country,” said Dr. Yuan-Po Tu, who monitors influenza issues for The Everett Clinic.
The organization is part of a statewide network that reports on influenza testing to the state.
“This year, we got hit hard, but not nearly as hard as California and the rest of the country,” he said.
Locally, flu cases are roughly split between Type A, which still predominates in much of the rest of the nation, and Type B.
Type B typically hits early in influenza season and then comes back late in the season, so when it rebounds, it generally is an indication that flu season is beginning to wane, Tu said.
Flu symptoms typically start suddenly and include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, fatigue and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.
However, not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
Although the body aches and fever caused by the flu can make those sickened by it miserable, it generally can be treated at home by drinking fluids and taking over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tips on when flu can be treated at home and when to seek medical care are available on the Snohomish Health District website: www.snohd.org/flu