A sign advertising flu shots outside a primary care office in Cheshire. Arielle Levin Becker / CTMirror.org
Residents are urged to get vaccinated against the flu. Arielle Levin Becker / CTMirror.org

Two Connecticut residents over the age of 65 died of flu-related complications last week, the first deaths of the season, health officials reported Thursday. One person lived in Litchfield County and the other was from Fairfield County.

Since August, 47 people in the state have been hospitalized with the disease. Flu season runs from October to May, with the most cases typically recorded from December to March.

During the last fiscal year, which ended in July, 3,506 residents were hospitalized with the flu and 88 died.

Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated against the disease. Adults and children who are healthy can still get sick from the flu, they said.

“I advise all Connecticut residents to take the proactive step to protect their health during flu season by getting a flu shot,” Health Commissioner Renee D. Coleman-Mitchell said. “Flu vaccines are safe and effective, and can either help prevent you from becoming infected by this serious virus, or help lessen your symptoms if you do get sick.”

Nationwide, an estimated 48.8 million people got the flu in 2017-18, the most recent data available. That year, 959,000 people were hospitalized – the highest number since 2009 – and 79,400 people died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is encouraging anyone older than six months to be vaccinated. High-risk groups, including children from 6 months to 18 years of age, women who are pregnant during flu season, people 50 and older, and people living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are especially urged to get immunized.

Residents 65 years and older should get a flu shot instead of a nasal spray vaccine, health officials said.

To find a flu clinic, visit the HealthMap Vaccine Finder at https://vaccinefinder.org/

Jenna is CT Mirror’s Health Reporter, focusing on health access, affordability, quality, equity and disparities, social determinants of health, health system planning, infrastructure, processes, information systems, and other health policy. Before joining CT Mirror Jenna was a reporter at The Hartford Courant for 10 years, where she consistently won statewide and regional awards. Jenna has a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University and a Bachelor or Arts degree in Journalism from Grand Valley State University.

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