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Date: April 12, 2022
DOVER (April 12, 2022) - The Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the first flu-related death of the 2021-2022 flu season. The individual was a 54-year-old Kent County female infected with influenza A who died in early April. She had underlying health conditions and was not vaccinated.
As of April 2, 2022, the most recent date for which flu statistics are available, there have been 1,194 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu in Delaware for the current season. Of those cases, 623 have been confirmed in New Castle County, 210 in Kent County, and 361 in Sussex County. These numbers reflect only the number of lab-confirmed cases; the actual number of cases circulating statewide is likely much higher as not all people with the flu seek treatment, and many cases are diagnosed through rapid tests in a provider's office versus a lab. While the early part of the flu season was relatively calm, cases have risen in the last several weeks.
"This is a sad and stark reminder that the flu is still very much with us and can be deadly," said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased. Like many states, Delaware has seen an increase in flu cases recently. The prevention strategies are similar to the ones we encourage people to use with COVID-19."
In addition to staying home if you have flu-like symptoms, and taking antiviral medication as directed, DPH recommends that you:
Social distancing means that those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school, and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever - with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) without the use of fever-reducing medications - for at least 24 hours. They should avoid close contact with well people in the household and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your primary care provider as he or she may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.
Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. People with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are more susceptible to catching the flu.
Flu vaccines are still available at many pharmacies and grocery stores, through primary care physicians and some specialists. To find participating stores, enter your ZIP code in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's flu vaccine finder at www.cdc.gov/flu/.
For more information about the flu, visit flu.delaware.gov/.
Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.
DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.