Health

Has San Diego’s Flu Season Peaked? No Deaths Reported Last Week

flu vaccination syringe

For the first time in over a month, no flu deaths were reported in San Diego last week and the number of cases continued to drop for the second week in a row, a sign that the flu season may have peaked, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

“No flu deaths being reported and cases dropping is great news,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.

While case numbers fell, and no deaths were reported last week, the number of people showing up at emergency departments with flu-like symptoms increased from 4 to 5 percent.

“However, influenza is very unpredictable, so people should continue getting vaccinated since past flu seasons have extended through April and even May,” Wooten added.

The County Health and Human Services Agency publishes the weekly Influenza Watch report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region. All other indicators are at expected levels for this time of year.

For the week ending Jan. 26, 2019, the Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 5 percent of all visits (compared to 4 percent the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 366 (compared to 489 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 24 (compared to 205 at this time last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 3,493 (compared to 14,256 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, community clinics, 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.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact