Walmart Pharmacy Manager Bassem Messiha readies a syringe before he administers a flu shot to a customer, in this file photo.

Kern County has registered its first flu-related death for the 2018-19 flu season. 

The county Public Health Services Department declined to provide any information about the person for privacy and safety reasons. 

The health department said there were two flu deaths and 11 nonfatal ICU cases for the 2017-18 season; it only counts people who are under the age of 65.

“We offer our condolences to the family,” said Matt Constantine, county director of public health services. “The flu must be taken seriously and we encourage residents to take steps to protect themselves and their families.”

Residents are encouraged to get their flu vaccine annually, which the department calls the "first and best way to protect against the flu."

The flu can be a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Anyone can get sick from the flu and certain people are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu. These high-risk people include young children, pregnant women, adults 65 years and older, and anyone with chronic health conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

Other ways to stop the spread of flu include:

  • Stay home when sick.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue and properly dispose of the used tissue.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

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