Pass the Gravy, Not the Flu Germs

He won’t be on your guest list, but he could show up on Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations.

We’re talking about the flu, cases of which typically go up during the holidays. That’s why County health officials are encouraging people to get vaccinated before flu activity increases.

“Family gatherings and other celebrations create the perfect setting for the flu to spread,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “This holiday season, pass the gravy, not the flu germs. Get a flu shot.” 

Flu activity in San Diego County currently is relatively low, which is expected for this time of the year.

For the week ending November 14, 2015, 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: 18 (up from 3 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 1 (compared to 0 last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 107 (compared to 97 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 two weeks for immunity to develop.

RELATED: First Local Flu-related Death of the Season Reported

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




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