It’s time for flu shot season! Photo credit: smchealth.org

Updated 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 2014

County health officials on Monday reminded area residents to get influenza vaccinations as “flu season” kicks in around San Diego.

The last two years have seen the most fatalities from the illness over the past decade, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

In the most recent flu season, 70 people died of complications related to the disease in San Diego County, according to the HHSA. The year before, the count was 65. Most were elderly and suffering from a pre-existing medical condition.

“No matter who you are, whether you have insurance or whether you don’t, there is no excuse for not being vaccinated,” Supervisor Ron Roberts said. “You owe that, not only to yourself, but to your family and the loved ones surrounding you.”

Dr. William Tseng of the San Diego County Medical Society said there are a lot of “bad excuses” people use to avoid getting a flu shot, including saying they have no time, are young and healthy and don’t need to be vaccinated, and that they will get influenza from the vaccine. Tseng said people don’t catch the flu from the shot.

Health officials say that getting a flu shot is the most important action people can take to protect themselves from the illness. The vaccine is already available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies.

People with no medical insurance can get a flu shot at a county public health center.

Health experts advise people to wash their hands thoroughly and often; use hand sanitizers; stay home when ill; avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth; and routinely clean commonly touched surfaces.

More information about influenza is available online at www.sdiz.org or by calling 2-1-1 San Diego.

—City News Service

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