County announces 1st death of flu season

Flu Vaccine

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego region’s first fatality of “flu season” was an 86-year-old man who died Sunday, county health officials said Friday.

The San Diego man had a previous medical condition, and he succumbed after a brief hospitalization, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

“This death is an unfortunate reminder that influenza can be fatal,” county public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. “The seasonal influenza vaccine is widely available.”

The HHSA is sponsoring several free flu shot clinics this month. Locations are available online at sdiz.org or by calling 211 San Diego. The vaccine protects against several flu strains.

Flu vaccines also are available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

So far this season, 203 lab-confirmed influenza cases have been reported, compared with 60 at this same point last year.

The 2016-17 flu season saw 87 fatalities, including two children.

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.