The first two deaths linked to influenza in Idaho for this year's flu season have been reported to have occurred in the northern region of the state. Both victims were elderly women.

The office of the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare has confirmed the first pair of flu-related deaths for the 2019-2020 flu season. The December 23, 2019, report by the DHW has described the victims as being both female, and both over the age of 70.

The health department has also reminded Idaho residents that influenza is affecting people statewide, and that taking the proper precautions to try to avoid contracting the flu is recommended. Washing hands repeatedly, seeking immediate care of a physician if experiencing symptoms--these include fever, aches, chills, fatigue, runny nose, cough and sore throat--and getting vaccinated against the virus are all recommended by state health officials.

Those that are most at risk for contracting the virus include the elderly (over 65), pregnant women and small children. If visiting an area clinic, urgent care or hospital for health reasons, it's also important to remember these office trips do increase a person's chance of getting the flu, so being as sanitary as possible is also recommended.

Avoiding people who appear sick, keeping ill children home and medicated, covering your coughs and sneezes, staying home from work when feeling ill and drinking plenty of fluids are also ways the health department says we can help ourselves with attempting to avoid illness.

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