Idaho flu deaths triple in the past couple of weeks

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The number of Idahoans killed by the flu this season has tripled in the past two weeks.

When KBOI checked on January 22, the Department of Health and Welfare said there had only been three influenza deaths in Idaho this season. But when KBOI checked again, there were six more flu deaths as of Friday, bringing the state's total to nine so far.

That's why health professionals say getting vaccinated is just as important now as it was at the start of flu season.

Idaho State University has given out more than 5,600 free vaccinations this season, but most of them were earlier in the fall.

"It's toward the end of the season so the demand is less, but that doesn't mean it's still not needed," explained Glenda Carr who is an assistant pharmacy professor at ISU.

Carr says people don't think about getting a shot this late into flu season, but should because February is actually the peak of it.

There are several strains out there this year, and getting through one won't stop you from coming down with another. But a flu shot will. It covers all of the largest strains going around this season.

The Department of Health and Welfare didn't say where the recent deaths happened. But it did tell KBOI that all of the victims were over 50-years-old.