Salt Lake County confirms first flu-related deaths

Published: Thursday, Jan. 2 2014 12:15 p.m. MST

Nearly 1,000 people were hospitalized with the flu last year in Utah. Of those, 34 patients died from complications of the illness, according to health department data. Most of the reported hospitalizations from influenza complications occurred during the three weeks following Christmas, and while hundreds of patients were over age 65, influenza affected every age group similarly.

Vaccination remains the most potent defense against influenza, according to health officials.

"It's a relatively small thing that reduces illness and even saves lives," Risk said.

In addition to advising people to get the flu shot or nasal mist vaccine each year, the health department encourages people to be diligent about washing their hands correctly — including using warm-to-hot water and scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds — and to stay home from work or school if they are sick.

Email: wleonard@deseretnews.com

Twitter: wendyleonards

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