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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Department of Health on Friday announced the first flu-related death of the 2018-19 flu season.

Flu season started in October and a flu-related death so early in the season is somewhat unsual, according to Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG.

“We don’t typically see flu-related deaths this early in the season, but flu viruses circulate year-round and can have heartbreaking consequences at any time,” said Dr. Box. “I encourage anyone who hasn’t gotten a flu shot to get one to help protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Everyone 6 months or older should get the influenza vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The flu vaccine is especially important for healthcare workers, people at high risk for flu-related complications (such as pregnant women, young children, and the elderly) and anyone with an infant in their household, Dr. Box said.

In addition to being vaccinated, you can help prevent the spread of the flu and other illnesses by practicing the “Three C’s”:

  • Clean: Properly wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
  • Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze into your arm or a disposable tissue.
  • Contain: Stay home from school or work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading. 

(Photo by cgtoolbox/Thinkstock.)