public health

OKANOGAN - An Okanogan County child has died from complications of influenza B, according to Okanogan County Public Health.

It is the first flu-related death reported in Okanogan County of the 2019-2020 season, and the fifth pediatric death in Washington state this flu season, said the health district.

“The flu strain currently circulating in our county and over the last several weeks is predominantly influenza B, which has particularly hit our young people hard," said Lauri Jones, district community health director. "We are deeply saddened for the family and their loss.”

Okanogan County Public Health officials said they encourage people to check the state Department of Health’s flu page for information at www.knockoutflu.org.

A flu shot is the best protection against the virus, "and we encourage you to protect yourself and people around you by getting your flu shot," said the district.

Flu virus is spread by droplets that carry the virus when sickened people cough, sneeze or talk. The droplets can cause infection directly or through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, said health officials.

"Make sure you wash your hands often with soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cover your cough or sneeze, and stay home if you’re sick," said Jones.

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