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Local doctor speaks on spike in local flu deaths

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-11 02:36:11-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's a severe flu season nationwide, and we’re seeing the effects in Clark County. The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting five new flu deaths, including a child.

“What we’re seeing is the number of deaths and hospitalizations are farther during this time of year.”

That’s how board-certified physician Dr. Dahlia Wachs describes this year’s flu season.
In Clark County alone, there have been five new flu deaths bringing to total number to 11.
This includes the county’s first child death, many of the other deaths were senior citizens, an especially vulnerable population.

“One you get over 65, you do lose some of your immune function and like infants who a lot of the times don’t have their immune function fully developed, so that’s what we think why they’re more vulnerable,” Dr. Wachs said.

Nationwide, nearly 10 million cases were reported with 4800 deaths, including 32 children, the most since the CDC started tracking child deaths in 2004. Children have been especially hit hard by the b-strain of the virus. Dr. Wachs says the flu can lead to more serious complications.

“The flu necessarily might not kill, but it could invite pneumonia or sepsis or other infections and take over that unfortunately can be the cause of death,” she said.

She says there are some symptoms like coughs or fever that need to be taken seriously if it becomes worse.

“If the cough starts turning wet, deep and you have chest pains, you have trouble breathing, you’re dizzy,” she said.

She implores people to get their flu shots, as it can either prevent the flu or mitigate symptoms.

“Mitigating flu symptoms can save lives,” Dr. Wachs said.

She says it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

“We are currently in peak flu season and flu season doesn’t end until the end of spring, so there’s plenty of time to get the flu shot,’ she said.