DOVER, Del. - Delaware has reported its second flu death of the young season.
The victim was an 83-year-old New Castle County woman living in a nursing home.
The state is seeing more flu activity than last year at this time, with 49 people needing hospital care.
While Delaware's Health Department continues to urge flu vaccinations, it's also asking anyone who MIGHT have the flu to ask their primary care provider for antiviral drugs like Tamiflu.
They can help reduce the flu's severity, which is especially important for those at high risk for complications.
"This is particularly important for pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions," said DPH Medical Director Dr. Awele Maduka-Ezeh.
Antiviral drugs work best when administered within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.
As of Dec. 22, 2017, Delaware has recorded 129 laboratory-confirmed flu cases this season, with 49 of those cases requiring hospitalization. At the same time last year, there were 91 laboratory-confirmed cases with 26 hospitalizations and one death.
DPH is also reaching out to medical providers and encouraging them to begin antiviral treatment for all hospitalized patients and all high-risk patients with suspected influenza.
The state continues to offer the flu vaccine at five State Service Centers, which can be found at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html.
Health officials urge anyone, 6 months of age and older, who has not yet been vaccinated against the flu, to get a shot as soon as possible, as it takes about two weeks for protective antibodies to develop.
Kids 6 months to 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time need 2 doses.
To lessen your chance of getting sick this winter -
Keep your distance from others if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately; if there's no tissue available, sneeze or cough into your inner elbow.
Stay home if you are sick until you are free of fever for 24 hours - with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours.