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Recent death sparks heightened flu prevention

Published On: Jan 02 2014 07:36:00 PM CST

A man from south central Idaho died this week after coming down with the flu. The Eastern Idaho Public Health District said this is the state's first flu-related death of the year.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

A man from south central Idaho died this week after coming down with the flu. The Eastern Idaho Public Health District said this is the state's first flu-related death of the year.

The death has already alerted many health agencies of the need for heightened education and prevention of the flu. The agency's director of Family and Community Health Services, Gary Rillema, said he hopes people will take this more seriously.

"February is the peak of the disease in Idaho. It's a major body impact," he said.

Rillema isn't the only one who is noticing the virus spread. Ron Boring is determined to keep his family prepared this flu season.

"We just had a newborn and wanted to make sure we didn't get our baby exposed to anything," he said.

Especially with the strain of H1N1 making its way across the country. Health experts said the strand is hard to differentiate from traditional strands of influenza.

"The general symptoms are body aches, chills and fever," said Rillema.

Rillema said shots are no longer an excuse for not getting vaccinated because there is a new nasal mists. Health professionals continue to push vaccinations as the most important form of prevention. There are also other things you can do to stay healthy.

"Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Then if you are sick, you prevent the germ from spreading. If you're not, you get those germs off your hands with frequent hand washing," said Rillema

Last flu season, 35 people died from flu related illnesses in Idaho. So if still haven't gotten around to getting vaccinated, here is a list of vaccination sites within the eastern Idaho public health district:

BONNEVILLE COUNTY 533-3235
CLARK COUNTY 374-5216
CUSTER COUNTY 879-2504
FREMONT COUNTY 624-7585
JEFFERSON COUNTY 745-7297
LEMHI COUNTY 756-2123
MADISON COUNTY 356-3239
TETON COUNTY 354-2220

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