SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico Department of Health announced that a 2-year-old girl from McKinley County and 15-year-old boy from Torrance County died from influenza-related illnesses in the past month.
Since Oct. 1, 2012, the Department of Health has identified 89 pneumonia and influenza-related deaths. Last flu season, the Department identified one influenza-related pediatric death.
"It is still important and not too late to get vaccinated, as flu is likely to continue to circulate in New Mexico for some weeks," said State Epidemiologist Michael Landen, MD, MPH. "The flu vaccine is the best way for you to protect yourself and your families, especially children and seniors."
New Mexico has reported widespread flu activity throughout the state for the past six weeks. Influenza activity in the state appears to have peaked the last week in December; however, flu activity remains higher than peak levels seen in past recent influenza seasons.
Of the 89 pneumonia and influenza deaths, 11 were confirmed to have been caused by influenza.
The Department recommends the following to help prevent catching or spreading influenza:
· Wash your hands and your children's hands frequently, especially after contact with other people.
· Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue afterward or cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
· Clean your hands after you cough or sneeze, even if you use a tissue. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water are not available and your hands are not visibly soiled.
· Stay home if you get the flu.
· Try to avoid close contact with sick people.