The Beaumont Public Health Department confirmed Monday that the five people who died at Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth with flu-like symptoms had not gotten flu shots.
Only one of those five was from Beaumont, two were from Jasper County, one from Hardin County and another from Bexar County. They ranged in age from 26 to 65.
Public Health Director Sherry Ulmer told 12News that people over 65, children two-years-old and younger, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are at most risk of the flu.
The flu fear that the recent deaths have generated in our area is encouraging Southeast Texans to get the flu shot.
The health department was giving less than ten shots per day until last week. On Friday alone, however, 70 people received the vaccine.
It's been confirmed that two of the deaths were a result of H1N1, a virus that first came on the scene in 2009.
Ulmer said, "We do know that we have an effective flu vaccine, if it doesn't prevent you from getting the flu and if you get the flu, your symptoms should be less severe than if you don't."
Medicare covers two flu injections a year.
Other recommendations from the health department are:
- If you're sick, stay home.
- Don't return to work or school until you've been fever-free for 24 hours.
- Wash your hands regularly
- Cough into a tissue or the fold of your arm