Health

Season Sees More Flu Cases; 3rd Death Reported

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The number of flu cases being reported this season is nearly three times higher than the average total for the previous three years, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

A total of 445 lab-confirmed flu cases have been reported this season compared to an average of 112 cases for the past three years. This season’s total includes a third influenza death, an 85-year-old woman who died from influenza A on Nov. 4 and had underlying medical conditions.

“We cannot predict just how severe a flu season is going to be, but a lot more cases are being reported than in previous years,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “It you have not gotten vaccinated, do it now to avoid getting sick.”

For the week ending Nov. 11, 2017, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 1 percent of all visits (compared to 2 percent the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 61 (compared to 66 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 3 (compared to 1 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.

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