Eight more San Diegans died from complications from influenza and the illness remains widespread throughout the region, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported Wednesday.
For the week ending January 25, 2014, HHSA released the following:
- Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 10 percent (unchanged from previous week)
- Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 609 (slightly up from 590 the previous week, a revised figure from the last report)
- Total influenza deaths to date: 20
- Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 2,620
San Diego residents who died from influenza this season ranged in age from 32 to 91 years of age and all had underlying medical conditions or were of advanced age. Sixty-five deaths were reported last flu season.
“The number of lab-confirmed influenza cases remains elevated but it appears to be at a plateau,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “It’s important to continue taking preventive measures to avoid getting sick, including getting vaccinated.”
Compared to last season, a significantly higher proportion of young and middle-aged adults are being reported with flu, which is expected with this season’s high prevalence of the H1N1 strain. More people have required intensive care for influenza at local hospitals this season, with 137 cases reported compared to 116 for all of last season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is especially important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu, including people with certain medical conditions, pregnant women, and people 65 years and older.
The current flu vaccines offer protection against Pandemic H1N1, Influenza A H3N2 and Influenza B strains. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop after getting vaccinated.
In addition to getting vaccinated, you should also wash your hands thoroughly and often, use hand sanitizers and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
Staying away from sick people, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and staying home when sick are also recommended.
The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can go to a County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.