Spread the joy, not the flu this holiday season

12-15-16-health-Spread the joy, not the flu-cp

José A. Álvarez
County of San Diego Communications Office

If you’re planning on attending your work holiday party or other gatherings with family and friends, make sure you don’t bring an uninvited guest: the flu.

Flu activity typically starts to increase during the holidays. That’s why County health officials are encouraging people to get vaccinated now.

“This holiday season, spread the joy, not the flu,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Parties and other celebrations create the perfect setting for the flu to spread. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot, get one now. And if you’re sick, stay home.”

How to Prevent the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six 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 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

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

Influenza Activity at Expected Levels

Flu activity in San Diego County currently is at expected levels for this time of year.

For the week ending Dec. 3, 2016, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 3 percent of all visits (up from two percent the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 40 (up from 31 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: one (same compared to this time last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 230 (compared to 145 last season)

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 211.

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