January 11, 2013 (San Diego)--A 92-year-old woman died from influenza, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday It was the second death this flu season. The first was an 89-year-old woman who died Nov. 15.
County health officials are encouraging everyone to be immunized to help protect themselves and their loved ones against the flu, especially now that influenza activity is increasing nationwide. A total of 143 cases were reported the week ending Jan. 5, a 77 percent increase from the prior week, when 81 cases were reported.
“Influenza can be a serious and deadly disease, especially for the elderly and young infants, as well as for people with chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The best protection against the flu is to get vaccinated. It is not too late to be immunized.”
Nationwide, 41 states reported influenza cases last week, including 18 deaths of children. CNN reports some top health officials now consider the situation an epidemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6-months and older get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is especially important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu, including people with certain medical conditions, pregnant women, and people 65 years and older.
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
This season’s flu vaccine offers protection against Pandemic H1N1-like, Influenza A H3N2 and Influenza B strains. The vaccine is available throughout San Diego County at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. County public health centers have flu vaccine available for children and adults with no medical insurance. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.