The Indiana Department of Health encourages Hoosiers to get vaccinated against influenza (flu) after confirming the first two flu-related deaths of the 2023-24 season. No additional information about the patients will be released due to privacy laws.
Hundreds of Hoosiers become sick from influenza, and some cases are fatal. More than 270 Hoosiers died after contracting influenza during the 2022-23 flu season, which typically runs from October through May.
“Influenza can quickly become a serious, even life-threatening illness for some Hoosiers,” said State Health Commissioner Lindsay Weaver, M.D., FACEP. “While no two flu seasons are exactly alike, we always recommend getting an annual flu shot as soon as possible to provide the best protection against becoming seriously ill.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. The CDC also recommends early vaccination as it takes about two weeks for the antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body and the holiday season when families gather indoors is approaching.
People can also help prevent the spread of flu by washing their hands thoroughly and frequently, avoiding touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with their hands, and staying home when sick. Hoosiers should practice the “Three Cs” to help prevent the spread of flu and other infectious diseases:
Clean: Properly wash hands with warm, soapy water
Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze with your arm or disposable tissue
Contain: Stay home from school or work when you are sick to prevent the spread of germs.
While anyone can get the flu, some people are at higher risk of serious flu-related complications such as pneumonia, hospitalization, and death. Pregnant women, young children (especially those too young to get vaccinated), people who are immunocompromised or who have chronic illnesses, and the elderly are most at risk for complications from flu. These individuals need to receive an annual flu vaccine.
Common signs and symptoms of the flu include fever of 100° Fahrenheit or higher, cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and runny or stuffy nose.
Flu season data is reflected on the IDOH influenza dashboard each week and will be updated on Fridays. Note that due to reporting timeframes, one death will be reflected on the Nov. 3 update and the second on Nov. 13. The dashboard also contains historical flu surveillance data, broken down by county, region, and age group. Click here to learn more about influenza or to view the CDC weekly flu report.
Visit the Indiana Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov for important health and safety information or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StateHealthIN.