Health

Flu Cases Outpace Last Season’s Cases

flu vaccine
A flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

Flu cases continue to outpace last season’s numbers, the County Health and Human Services Agency reported today.

To date, 315 flu cases have been reported locally this year, compared to 25 at the same time last season. In the last week, 28 cases were reported, compared to seven in the same week last year.

Flu vaccination status is especially important around the holidays when people stay indoors and gather in large groups, increasing the risk of getting sick.

“Get vaccinated now to avoid getting sick later and spreading the flu virus to others,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Especially the elderly, young children, pregnant women, those with chronic diseases, and people with compromised immune systems should get vaccinated as they are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu.”

The County Health and Human Services Agency publishes the Influenza Watch weekly report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region.

For the week ending Nov. 13, 2021, the report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 3% of all visits (compared to 3% the previous week).
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 28 (compared to 30 the previous week).
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 0 (compared to 0 at this time last season).
  • Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 315 (compared to 25 last season).

Your Best Shot Against the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop. The CDC also indicates you can get a flu and COVID-19 vaccination at the same time. The coronavirus vaccine does not work against influenza and the influenza vaccine does not protect against COVID-19.

The flu vaccine is especially important for people at higher risk of having serious complications from the virus.

They include:

  • People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control;
  • Pregnant women;
  • People aged 65 years and older; and
  • People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk.

The influenza vaccine is now available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies and is covered by medical insurance. People with no health care coverage can get vaccinated at one of the County’s six public health centers or a local community clinic. To find the nearest location, visit the County’s Flu Vaccine Locations page or call 2-1-1 San Diego.

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; and
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.

In 2020, a total of 848 influenza cases were reported in San Diego, including two deaths. In 2019, more than 20,700 flu cases were reported and a total of 108 San Diegans died from influenza.

 

Katie Cadiao is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact