2 adult flu deaths in Anne Arundel County

Health department offers free flu shots
Posted at 6:37 PM, Feb 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-10 12:12:19-05

There is no line for free flu shots at the Glen Burnie Center.

In fact, on this day, there's hardly any takers at all, and we wanted to know why.

"Myself personally?  I'm scared of needles,” said Carey Smith outside a nearby discount store, “That's an easy one."

"To me, it a no-brainer,” said Jordan Brandner of Pasadena, “I understand some people get a little iffy about it.  People say they get sick from it."

Back at the clinic, those excuses ring hollow with word that a pair of Anne Arundel County residents recently died after contracting the virus.

"The report said that they were both over the age of 65 and that is one of our high-risk categories for flu,” said Linda Josephson, the county’s infectious disease program manager, “It's our senior populations, 65 and over, our young children, especially infants, are more susceptible, and children can't be vaccinated until they're up to six months of age."

During Maryland's worst flu season in three years, health advocates are reminding people to cover their coughs, sneeze into the bend of their elbows and to wash their hands.

They're even advising folks to avoid large crowds.

But the single most important thing they can do is to get a flu shot, and now, tragically, the recent deaths underscore just how important that can be.

"Yes, it does happen here in Anne Arundel County.  It happens in Maryland.  It happens all across the United States, and most people aren't inclined to think of the flu that way,” said Josephson, “They think of it as a respiratory ailment, and they don't think about the ramifications on how bad it can be."

And while many may feel they're immune...

"I just don't get it.  I don't get the flu.  Knock on wood.  Don't make me get it now.  So I don't get a flu shot," said Smith.

Still others are learning the hard way that eventually the odds can catch up with them.

"I'm the only one in the household that ended up with the flu, and I'm the only one that didn't get the shot," said Brandner’s wife, Jessica.

Earlier this week, the state's Department of Health confirmed the first child of the season had died from flu, but it does not report adult deaths.

Local hospitals in Anne Arundel County reported the two seniors who died last week to their local health department.