The man was in his 40s and had "chronic health concerns that increased his risk for complications," said the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Health officials urged people to get the flu shot.

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A Pierce County man in his 40s was the first person to die of flu-related causes in Washington during the 2018-2019 flu season, according to the state health department.

The man died in a Pierce County hospital Monday. He had “chronic health concerns that increased his risk for complications,” the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said in a statement Tuesday. The department urged people to get the flu shot.

The man’s death comes at the start of flu season, which typically runs from October to April. There was little flu activity in health-care facilities across the state during the first half of October, according to a report from the Washington State Department of Health.

“Yes this is early, but you don’t want people to be lulled into a false sense of security by the timing,” said Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department spokesman Steve Metcalf. “We want people to know flu season is something serious.”

The state Department of Health confirmed the Pierce County man was the first flu death of this season, but said it was too early to tell whether this year will be particularly bad. Between October 2017 and October 2018, 296 people died of flu-related deaths, roughly in line with the previous year, according to the department.

Health officials urge everyone 6 months and older to get the flu shot to protect both themselves and people around them who may be more vulnerable. The shot takes about two weeks to become effective. People with flu-like symptoms should stay home. If you experience severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing or chest pain, seek medical help.