Flu season is deadliest in years, still not over in Washington

SEATTLE - It’s been a deadly flu season here in Washington State. More than 100 people have already died, and the season isn’t over yet.

If you’ve noticed people around you coming down with the flu, you’re not alone.

“There are a lot of people sick and it’s been pretty bad,” says Tom Mullen.

“I’ve seen so many people i know getting sick,” adds Viatrix Moffitt. “I expected to.”

Doctors say the flu vaccine is usually the best way to prevent getting sick. But this year, the vaccine has only been 33 percent effective in protecting against the strains that are going around.

That’s why Charles Olson thinks that’s why the shot didn’t help him.

“It has been really bad this year,” he says. “It keeps mutating.”

Doctors believe the flu season in Washington State peaked a couple weeks ago. But they say we’re not in the clear yet.

“If you think you have the flu and you’re otherwise a healthy person, then the best thing to do is stay home and rest,” says Dr. Chia Wang, from Virginia Mason Medical Center. “That way you don’t expose other people.”

She says the flu can be deadly, especially to young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

There have already been 120 deaths since the flu season began in September. In 2013-2014, there were 79 deaths. In 2012-2013, there were 54.

“It’s a really severe illness,” says Dr. Wang. “It’s much worse than your common cold.”

She says washing your hands and practicing good hygiene can help, but it’s best to stay away from infected people.

Most of the flu victims in our state were older people with underlying health problems. But at least one child and two adults who died, were healthy before coming down with the flu.