Flu shot bandage. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A San Diego County woman has died due to flu complications, representing the county’s second such death this season, officials announced Wednesday.

The 70-year-old woman, who died Nov. 14, had additional medical issues prior to contracting the flu, and county health officials weren’t sure if she was vaccinated.

“This is a continued reminder that influenza can be deadly, especially for the elderly, young children and those with existing chronic illnesses,” said Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “Vaccination is the best protection against influenza.”

News of the woman’s death comes as this season’s flu diagnoses are on the rise: The county tallied 58 confirmed cases during the week of Nov. 11-17, 24 more than the previous week.

Last flu season, 342 county residents died due to flu complications, the most since the county began tracking flu cases and deaths nearly 20 years ago. Most flu casualties were among residents over the age of 65 who had underlying medical conditions.

The county’s current flu pace is behind last season’s, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency, with 189 confirmed cases this season as of Nov. 15 compared to 441 at the same time last season. The county had also reported four flu deaths at this time a year ago.

County health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone 6 months or older receive the flu vaccine every year. People with heightened risk of serious flu complications, like pregnant women, people older than 65 and people with chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, are strongly advised to get vaccinated.

County residents can get vaccinated at doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, community clinics and the county’s public health center. Residents can also call 2-1-1 or visit the county’s immunization program website, sdiz.com, for a list of county locations administering free vaccines.

–City News Service

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