Seven more influenza deaths were reported last week bringing this season’s local total to 68, which is the same overall number reported all last season, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.
To date, the people who died ranged in age from 31 to 98 years old. All except three had underlying medical conditions, and most were over the age of 65.
The number of lab-confirmed influenza cases continued to drop, a sign that influenza activity in the region is waning.
“Influenza activity is decreasing, but more deaths are likely to be reported,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “People should continue to get vaccinated as the flu can last through April and later.”
For the week ending March 11, 2017, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:
- Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 3 percent of all visits (same as the previous week)
- Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 260 (compared to 327 the previous week)
- Total influenza deaths to date: 68 (compared to 53 at this time last season)
- Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 4,692 (compared to 5,081 at this time last season)
How to Prevent the Flu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop.
Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. They include:
- People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control
- Pregnant women
- People 65 years and older
- People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk
In addition to getting vaccinated, people should also do the following to avoid getting sick:
- Wash hands thoroughly and often
- Use hand sanitizers
- Stay away from sick people
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean commonly touched surfaces
- If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others
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.