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County Urges Vaccination After First Flu-Related Death of the Season

County Urges Vaccination After First Flu-Related Death of the Season

(OCHD, Nov. 7, 2019)

Pontiac, MI- Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) was notified of a flu-associated death in a 69-year-old Oakland County man. While there are fewer reports of flu as compared to previous years at this time, this is the first reported flu death in Oakland County for the flu season, which began Oct. 1.

“Vaccination is the most effective protection against the flu,” said Dr. Russell Faust, medical director for Oakland County. “Don’t wait to get the flu shot. Contact your doctor or nearest pharmacy for flu vaccine availability.”

OCHD recommends everyone over the age of 6 months receive an influenza vaccination and take preventative actions, such as washing their hands often with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand rub when soap and water is not available, to avoid spreading flu.

Those who are at a higher risk of flu complications include children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, older adults, and those with chronic medical conditions. These high-risk individuals, those who live or care for them or anyone that cannot get a flu shot should especially get vaccinated and take preventative actions.

Getting an annual flu shot decreases the risk of getting the flu. It also helps decrease severity of illness, complications, and protects the entire community, especially those who are unable to be vaccinated. The flu virus can be spread to others as far as six feet away, mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Less often, a person may also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth.

The flu usually occurs suddenly and can cause mild to severe illness and sometimes lead to death. Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

OCHD has a limited quantity of some types of flu vaccine available at this time. Please contact the Health Division’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 to check on flu vaccine availability before coming to the Health Division. Flu shots may also be available through your physician and at select pharmacies.

For up-to-date information, visit, follow the Health Division on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC, or call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at 800-434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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