Health

Local Teen Dies from Influenza

A 16-year-old girl who died from the flu is one of nine influenza deaths reported locally last week, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

The teenager died on March 16 from influenza B and had underlying medical conditions. This is the first pediatric death from the flu in San Diego since 2013.

“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of this young girl.” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The flu can be deadly, even when it appears to be a milder season, so getting vaccinated and seeking care early is important in every age group.”

The new deaths bring this season’s total to 50, compared to 90 at the same time last year. The ages of those who have died this season range from 16 to 98, and seven had no known underlying medical conditions.

For the week ending March 19, 2016 (Week 11), the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 4 percent of all visits (down from 6 percent the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 381 (down from 482 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 50 (compared to 90 last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 5,306 (compared to 6,531 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 vaccine every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.

This season’s flu vaccine offers protection against several strains of the flu including influenza A H3N2, pandemic H1N1-like, and influenza B strains.

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 your symptoms are under control
  • Pregnant women
  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk

Other Tips to Stay Healthy

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 Community Health Center or County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.

 

 

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