SAN DIEGAN, 62, IS SIXTH TO DIE OF FLU THIS SEASON

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East County News Service

February 3, 2016 (San Diego) -- A 62-year-old man is the first person under the age of 65 to die from influenza in the San Diego region this season, the County Health and Human Services Agency reported today.

The man died Jan. 25 from the H1N1 strain of influenza. He had no underlying medical conditions and did not get a flu shot. This latest death brings this season’s total to five. Last year, 97 people died locally from complications from the flu.

“This death is an unfortunate reminder that the flu can be deadly for people of any age, not just those over 65 years,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The H1N1 virus can be very severe for younger, healthy people, especially those who have not been vaccinated. Get your flu shot now.”

For the week ending Jan. 30, 2016, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 4 percent of all visits (same as the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 189 (up from 181 the previous week)
  • Total influenza deaths to date: 5 (compared to 38 last season)
  • Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 925 (compared to 4,025 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 vaccine every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.

This season’s flu vaccine offers protection against several strains of the flu including Influenza A H3N2, Pandemic H1N1-like and influenza B strains.

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
  • Children under 5 years of age
  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk

Other Tips to Stay Healthy

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 Community Health Center or County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.