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San Diego deaths from the flu are on the rise

The Center for Disease Control recommends everyone six-months and older should get annual vaccine.
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County Health and Human Services is reporting eight more flu-related deaths in San Diego, bringing the total to 57 so far, or 32 more than this time last year. 

This is a slight increase in average over the previous three seasons.

Those affected are reported to be between the ages of 31 to 98. Three of the deaths resulted in patients having pre-existing medical conditions.  

Most of the deceased were over the age of 65.

“The number of confirmed flu cases went down last week in the county, even though reported deaths went up,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Influenza can cause illness at any time of the year, so people should get vaccinated and take other preventive measures.”

San Diego Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report for the week of February 25, found the following statistics

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 5 percent of all visits (unchanged from the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 335 (down from 408 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 57 (compared to 25 at this time last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 4,112 (compared to 3,812 at this time last season)

Everyone six-months and older should get an annual flu shot according to The Center for Disease Control especially if their health would be extremely compromised should they contract influenza.

The vaccine takes two weeks to become effective after administration.

People who fall into the following categories should make flu vaccination a priority:

  • 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

There are a few things you can do to avoid getting the flu:

  • 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.