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Officials stress importance of flu shots after local death

December 29, 2018

Area health officials are stressing the importance of getting a flu shot following the death of a 12-year-old Beatrice boy.

Draven Findeis, a Beatrice Middle School student, died unexpectedly on Wednesday at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha due to complications from the flu.

In an obituary posted on the Harman-Wright Mortuary website, Draven’s family encouraged everyone to get a flu shot in his memory.

Draven was an avid artist and reader, his obituary said. The sixth-grader enjoyed video games, Legos, cartoons, super heroes, music, drawing, comic books and Taco Bell.

Draven’s death is the third confirmed this flu season. Two earlier deaths were adults older than 65.

Officials with Public Health Solutions said the flu virus is on the rise throughout the area.

“The flu is definitely increasing right now, said registered nurse Kate Lange. “We’re seeing H1N1 as the primary flu and that’s the one we had back in 2000 when it was a new flu. That’s now a component of the vaccine and has been for several years.”

Lange said anyone experiencing fever, coughing or a sore throat should suspect the flu and see a doctor.

She added that healthy lifestyle choices can also reduce the impact of getting the flu, and people with diabetes, asthma and other conditions are at a higher risk.

Lange said it’s too early in the season to predict if it will be a bad year for the flu, but stressed that it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

“That’s your best protection against the flu, even if it’s not 100 percent effective, and no vaccine is 100 percent effective,” she said. “That’s still your best protection against the flu. Otherwise, get enough rest, have a healthy diet, stay away from people with flu symptoms and go to your doctor if you think you have the flu.”

Lange said even into January and February it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

Public Health Solutions offers flu shots, and can make accommodations for those unable to afford the vaccination.

Those wishing to schedule a flu shot can contact Public Health Solutions at 402-826-3880.

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