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February 25, 2015 (San Diego) - Influenza claimed the lives of eight more San Diegans last week, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths this season to 62, the County Health and Human Services Agency reports.

The ages of those who have died this season range from 51 to 99 years and all had underlying medical conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine 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.

The CDC has indicated this year’s vaccine is not as good a match for one of the strains, but it is very well matched for the other strains. Partial protection is better than no protection, the CDC advises, and having the vaccine can help prevent severe illness and hospitalizations.

Because this year's vaccine was not a good match, County health officials continue to encourage San Diegans to contact their doctor immediately if they start to develop flu-like symptoms so that they can be evaluated for antiviral drugs, which work best if given within 48 hours after symptoms appear.

Antiviral drugs are recommended for high-risk groups, including:

  • 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

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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