East County residents offered free flu shots

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fluSAN DIEGO — Free flu shots will be given to adults in southeast San Diego Friday as local health officials kick off the flu vaccination season.

The shots will be given to the first 400 adults who show up at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center at 6401 Skyline Drive in Skyline, where shots will be offered from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is being hosted by the San Diego Black Nurses Association.

On Wednesday, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced an all time high of 65 people died during the last flu season in San Diego County. The death toll topped the 58 who perished during the H1N1 pandemic three years ago.

Most of the deaths, which occurred between July 1, 2012, and June 30 of this year, involved elderly victims, and nearly all of them had underlying medical conditions, according to the HHSA.

The agency blamed a severe strain of the illness — H3N2 — which took even healthy people a couple of weeks to shake.    More than 5,300 influenza cases in the San Diego area were confirmed by laboratories during the last flu season, with the peak near the end of January and early in February, the HHSA reported.

The agency said that for those unable to attend today’s event, the latest flu vaccine is also already available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies. People without medical insurance can get a flu shot at a county public health center.

Other precautions people should take to avoid catching or spreading the flu include washing their hands thoroughly and often; using hand sanitizers; staying home when ill; avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth; and routinely cleaning commonly touched surfaces, according to the HHSA.

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