José A. Álvarez
County of San Diego
A higher number of influenza cases is being reported this season compared to last year, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced Oct. 11.
To date there have been 221 cases reported this season. A total of 71 cases had been reported at the same time last year.
“It’s extremely important that people get vaccinated,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Influenza can generate severe complications, including death, especially for people with underlying medical conditions.”
For the week ending Oct. 7, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:
- Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 1 percent of all visits (down from 2 percent the previous week)
- Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 16 (down from 23 the previous week)
- Total influenza deaths to date: 1 (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.