Flu hits peak levels in Washington State

OLYMPIA — The flu has reached its peak, and 19 lab-confirmed flu deaths have been reported across the state since December. Only lab-confirmed flu deaths are reportable in the state, and many cases aren’t lab tested, so the actual toll of flu is likely higher. “The flu can be a serious disease,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, […]

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  • Avoid the gift that no one wants, the flu

    OLYMPIA, Wash. – The holidays are synonymous with travel, parties, and get-togethers. And that creates opportunities for people to spread illnesses like the flu. The state Department of Health recommends getting a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your family and avoid falling under the weather this holiday season.

    The flu is more serious than the common cold, and it can cause complications that lead to hospitalization and death. A Tri-Cities area woman in her 50s was recently reported as the state’s first laboratory-confirmed flu-related death this season. The virus can spread before a person knows they’re sick. Many people with flu have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, and fatigue.

    You can do something about it – get vaccinated and use good health manners to avoid getting or giving flu this season. Cover your cough, wash your hands, and stay home and away from others when you’re sick. It takes two weeks after vaccination to be protected.

    “Getting a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important thing you can do to protect yourself and avoid spreading the flu to others, especially people who may be more vulnerable,” said State Health Officer Dr. Maxine Hayes. “There are many options of the flu vaccine this year. Ask your health care provider about which one is best for you and your family.”

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  • State Parks Asks “Would You Like Flies With That?”

    OLYMPIA, Wash. – Should the State Parks system operate more like an enterprise-based hospitality industry, a public conservation asset based mostly on grant and tax funding – or perhaps a system of parks freely standing as community non-profit entities? What do people love about their park system, and what improvements need to be made?

    These and other questions will be considered and discussed as part of a broad public outreach effort by Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission staff. Ideas are being sought through e-mail and in meetings with legislators, stakeholders and in public meetings scheduled around the state in May and June.

    Information gathered will be used to create a transformation strategy that will guide the park system through the next five years and beyond. The strategic transformation plan is to be used as a successor plan to the State Parks Centennial 2013 Plan, which provided guidance for parks improvements during the past 10 years.

    At the public meetings, parks staff will present the “state of state parks” and ask for ideas and comments about three “thematic alternative” visions for the future. Each of the “themes” will be explored by using a local park as an example. Participants at each meeting will have an opportunity to discuss the themes and share their ideas. Attendance is free, and a Discover Pass is not required to attend meetings held at a state park.

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