Flu vaccine and needle. Courtesy County News Center
Flu vaccine and needle. Courtesy County News Center

With flu cases increasing across San Diego County, Scripps Health recommends eight tips to avoid getting sick — or infecting others.

The number of local  influenza cases has risen significantly, with 455 reported in the first week of January, compared to 292 in the previous week, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. So far this season, nine people have died.

“The normal flu season surge is upon us, and even though more people are getting sick, it’s still not too late for people to protect themselves from illness,” said Scripps Chief Medical Officer James LaBelle. “Getting vaccinated, frequent and thorough hand washing and taking extra caution around those who are ill are the best protections.”

Here the eight tips:

  1. Vaccination is the best way to prevent getting the flu. Note that it takes about two weeks for vaccination to be fully effective.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid contact with sick people.
  3. Watch out for flu symptoms, which can include a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
  4. If you become sick, stay home from work and school to avoid infecting others.
  5. Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  6. Check with your doctor to see if you should be treated with an antiviral drug.
  7. Avoid the emergency room unless you are suffering from more serious flu symptoms.
  8. For children, seek emergency medical help if they are breathing fast or are having trouble breathing, have bluish skin color, aren’t drinking enough fluids, or have other severe symptoms.

Scripps said people 65 years and older, children under age two, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions have high risk of developing complications if they get the flu.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.