HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) encourages Hoosiers to get vaccinated against the flu after confirming the first two flu-related deaths of the 2023-24 season. Officials say no additional information about the patients will be released due to privacy laws.

IDOH says hundreds of Hoosiers become sick from flu, and some cases are fatal. More than 270 Hoosiers died after contracting influenza during the 2022-23 flu season, which typically runs from October through May.

“Influenza can quickly become a serious, even life-threatening illness for some Hoosiers,” said State Health Commissioner Lindsay Weaver, M.D., FACEP. “While no two flu seasons are exactly alike, we always recommend getting an annual flu shot as soon as possible to provide the best protection against becoming seriously ill.”

IDOH says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone age six-months and older get a flu vaccine each year. The CDC also recommends early vaccination as it takes about two weeks for the antibodies which protect against flu to develop in the body and holiday season when families gather indoors is approaching.

Officials say people can also help prevent the spread of flu by washing their hands thoroughly and frequently, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with their hands, and staying home when sick. Hoosiers should practice the “Three Cs” to help prevent the spread of flu and other infectious diseases:

  • Clean: Properly wash hands with warm, soapy water
  • Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze with your arm or disposable tissue
  • Contain: Stay home from school or work when you are sick to prevent the spread of germs.

IDOH says while anyone can get the flu, there are some people who are at higher risk of serious flu-related complications such as pneumonia, hospitalization and death. Pregnant women, young children, especially those too young to get vaccinated, people who are immunocompromised or who have chronic illness and the elderly are most at risk for complications from flu. It is especially important for these individuals to receive an annual flu vaccine.

Officials say flu season data is reflected on the IDOH influenza dashboard each week and will be updated on Fridays. Note that due to reporting timeframes, one death will be reflected on the November 3 update and the second on November 13. The dashboard also contains historical flu surveillance data, broken down by county, region and age group.