Previously healthy 36-year-old man dies from flu

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SAN DIEGO — A 36-year-old man died of influenza-related causes last week, serving as a reminder that the disease can strike at any time, San Diego County health officials reported Tuesday.

The previously healthy man had influenza B when he died on Thursday. It was unknown whether he’d received a flu shot, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

“Most flu cases in San Diego are in the winter and early spring, but many people are unaware that influenza can cause illness at any time of the year,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. “It’s never too late to get a flu shot.”

The man’s death brings the 2015-16 toll of influenza-related fatalities to 67, which is 30 less than the year before.

County health officials said this year’s victims — counted from July 1 to June 30 — have ranged from 9 to 98 years old, and all but eight had some sort of underlying medical condition.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots annually for everyone at least 6 months old. Vaccination is more important for people with weakened immune systems, as well as those who are pregnant, elderly or live with or care for others at high risk.

Other suggestions for staying healthy include frequent hand-washing, using hand sanitizers, staying away from sick people, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

Flu vaccines are available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies. Those without medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. A list of locations is available at http://www.sdiz.org or by calling 211.