Indiana reports first flu-related death of season



INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WEHT)- Flu season is upon us. The CDC says an increase of flu patients starts in October and not even a month into the season one person in Indiana has died from the virus.

That person was in marrion county. Doctors and the Vanderburgh County Health Department say anyone who can get the shot should because it helps to protect older people, babies, and people who aren’t able to have the shot.

The start of October means doctors talking about preventing a virus that can be deadly for some.

“It’s especially important for our younger population and our older population,” Dr. William Thompson III says.

Doctors say it is important to get the vaccine.

“So the importance is some people still can’t get the flu shot and those are our immunocompromised people,” Dr. Thompson says.

“We always want people to come and get their flu vaccine and go wherever they can to do that,” Joe Gries says.

Some are able to get their shot at the health department. Others should go to their doctor to get it and they say the earlier you get it, the better off you are. But if they run out there are steps you can take.

“Handwashing. Handwashing. Handwashing, is very important. Covering your mouth with your arm when you sneeze not your hands so that way you don’t touch a doorknob or touch a child’s face,” Dr. Thompson says.

It’s the goal of health professionals to get to the point of creating what they call herd immunity.

“Meaning that enough people in the community vaccinate against the pathogen that causes the illness will help prevent the transmission of the disease,” Dr. Thompson explains.

People shouldn’t be scared to get the shot because despite what some think.

“It’s an inactivated virus or that means it’s just dead it’s just there to help the body build the appropriate antibodies or the defense mechanism to get prepared for the real virus that comes out,” Dr. Thompson says.

Getting the shot and feeling a little sick afterward is normal doctors say.
Again– the shot is a dead strain of the virus.


INDIANAPOLIS (WEHT) – The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) today confirmed the state’s first influenza-related death of the 2019-20 flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year.

Dr. Box said that because infants younger than 6 months can’t be vaccinated, it’s important that anyone in a household where a young baby lives or visits get a flu shot to protect the child.

Healthcare workers also are urged to get a flu vaccine to reduce their risk of transmitting illness to their patients. 

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so the CDC recommends early vaccination.

However, the flu vaccine can be administered at any time during the season, which typically runs from October through May.

Influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract.

It is spread by respiratory droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets.

People can also become infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with influenza viruses and then touching their eyes, mouths or noses. 

Although anyone can get the flu, some people are at higher risk of flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, hospitalization, and death.

More than 110 Hoosiers died from influenza-associated illnesses during the 2018-19 flu season.

Those most at risk include pregnant women, young children (especially those too young to get vaccinated), people with chronic illnesses, people who are immunocompromised and the elderly.

It is especially important for these individuals to be vaccinated each year.

Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • fever of 100° Fahrenheit or greater
  • headache 
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat 
  • runny or stuffy nose

People can help prevent the spread of flu by washing their hands frequently and thoroughly, avoiding 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 your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
  • Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze into your arm or a disposable tissue.
  • Contain: Stay home from school or work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading. 

To learn more about influenza or to view the ISDH weekly flu report, which is updated each Friday, go to click here.

Click here to visit the Indiana State Department of Health for important health and safety information.

You can follow the ISHD on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the
Tri-State, follow Eyewitness News on Facebook and Twitter.

(This story was originally published on October 22, 2019)

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