In this 2015 photo taken through the eyepiece of a microscope, human cells infected with the flu virus glow green under light from a fluorescence microscope at a laboratory in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / AP file)

In this 2015 photo taken through the eyepiece of a microscope, human cells infected with the flu virus glow green under light from a fluorescence microscope at a laboratory in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / AP file)

First flu death of the season reported in Snohomish County

A Marysville woman in her 80s, who had underlying conditions, died from the flu earlier in the week.

EVERETT — Snohomish County has had its first flu-related death of the season.

A Marysville woman in her 80s died from the flu earlier in the week, according to the Snohomish Health District. She had underlying conditions.

She likely will not be the last person to die from the virus if previous years are any indication.

“The last couple of flu seasons have been brutal,” Snohomish Health District spokeswoman Heather Thomas said.

In the previous two years, 85 people died and nearly a thousand were hospitalized.

This winter has been milder. So far, 31 people have been hospitalized for flu-related sickness.

But the season is still young, and it’s just getting started, the Health District warns. Hospitalizations and deaths can peak anywhere between January and March. It can be unpredictable when a spike in cases might happen.

It’s not too late for people to get a flu shot, Thomas said. She said people should talk to their medical provider or pharmacy about it.

People who have the flu can take simple steps to keep others from catching the bug, such as washing their hands, as well as any surfaces they might touch. Covering coughs and sneezes can keep the virus from going airborne. Wearing a face mask in public can also help.

Better yet, Thomas said: Stay home.

She said people sick with the flu should contact a health care provider to see if any extra steps are needed.

“The flu should not be taken lightly,” she said. “It can be a severe and potentially life-threatening illness.”

More information about the flu, including weekly reports, is available online at www.snohd.org/flu.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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