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Source: County News Service

January 23, 2017 (San Diego) – Fourteen people have died from the flu so far this year in San Diego County. Influenza activity continues to be widespread, the County Health and Human Services Agency reports.

Ages of those who died ranges from 45 to 96—and all but one had underlying medical conditions.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, County public health officer, reminds the public that influenza can be deadly, especially for those with underlying chronic conditions. “It is not too late to get vaccinated,” she says, adding, that the vaccine is a good match against the flu strains currently circulating.

As of mid-January, 1,788 cases of influenza have been confirmed by lab testing locally, which is more than triple the rate for the same time last year.

To help prevent the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. 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, health authorities say. 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

Besides getting vaccinated, here are other steps to take to avoid getting sick:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Use hand sanitizers
  • Stay away from sick people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean commonly touched surfaces, and
  • 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.

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