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NM’s first flu death of season reported in Lincoln County

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The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) announced Monday the first flu-related death has been reported for the 2018-2019 flu season.

The deceased was identified only as “a woman 65 years or older from Lincoln County” in a press release from NMDOH.

“As flu infections increase across the state, it is important to get vaccinated if you haven’t already received the flu vaccine this season”, said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher.

Overall, flu activity remains low in New Mexico and nationwide, according to the press release. But flu activity typically peaks between December and February.

During the 2017-2018 flu season, New Mexico had more than 280 flu and pneumonia-related deaths.

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NMDOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine. Residents are encouraged to contact local healthcare providers or pharmacies to receive vaccine; the Department of Health’s public health offices are among the locations that provide vaccine to residents with no health insurance.

Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine can be given at the same time as flu vaccine to patients who qualify.

To find pharmacies in the area that may have flu and pneumococcal vaccine, visit: https://vaccinefinder.org/ or call the CDC INFO immunization hotline at 1-800-232-4636.

Symptoms of seasonal flu may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, tiredness and/or muscle aches.

People who might have flu should seek medical care and start antiviral medication as soon as possible, according to NMDOH.