The number of influenza cases in the region more than doubled this year compared with the number of cases last year during the same period, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported Wednesday.
So far, 263 cases have been confirmed during “flu season,” compared with 125 at this time in 2013, according to the HHSA.
No one has died from flu-related causes in 2014 in the region. In 2013, there were 70 flu-related deaths, most of which were connected to either pre- existing medical conditions and/or the advanced age of the patients.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone at least 6 months of age get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine, which health officials say is safe and effective, takes two weeks for immunity to develop.
Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza, such as those who have chronic medical conditions, are pregnant, elderly, or live with or care for others who are at higher risk. The majority of fatalities involved people who were seniors or already suffering health problems.
The HHSA said this season’s vaccine covers the same strains of influenza as last year because they’re the ones that have been circulating in countries around the world.
Other suggestions to avoid getting sick are washing hands thoroughly and often; using hand sanitizers; staying away from sick people; avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth; cleaning commonly touched surfaces; and staying home and avoiding contact with others if you’re sick.
The flu vaccine is available at doctors offices and retail pharmacies. Those without medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. A list of locations is available online at www.sdiz.org or by calling 2-1-1.
—City News Service
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