Health

Second Flu Death Reported in San Diego

A 95-year-old man with underlying medical conditions died December 7 from complications from the flu, the County Health and Human Services Agency reported today.

This is the second flu death reported this season. No flu deaths had been reported locally at this time last year, but 97 people died from the flu last season.

“The flu is a serious, contagious disease that can make you very ill. It can even be fatal,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “As flu season approaches, getting a flu shot is more important than ever.”

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

Flu activity in San Diego County is at expected levels for this time of the year, but it typically increases during January and February. So if you don’t want to get sick, you better get your flu shot now because it takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.

For the week ending December 12, 2015, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 4 percent of all visits (up from 3 the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 36 (up from 12 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 2 (compared to 0 last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 180 (compared to 187 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.

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 www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1. 

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