Health

Flu Activity Still Heightened in San Diego County

flukickoff2013a

The number of new local influenza cases reported this week is down slightly from last week, but still at elevated levels compared to last season, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

To date, a total of 680 lab-confirmed cases have been reported in the region this season, 461 more than the 219 that had been reported at the same time last year.

“We continue to see heightened influenza activity compared to last season,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The best way to protect yourself and those around you against the flu is to get vaccinated.”

For the week ending Nov. 25, 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 (up from 1 percent the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 107 (compared to 45 during this week last season)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 4 (compared to 3 at this time last season)

Your Best Shot Against 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.

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact