County sees 6th flu death

Health
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doctorSAN DIEGO – The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency has reported four more deaths in the region due to influenza.

The flu death total in the county this season is now six.

According to the HHSA, the victims were three elderly women — aged 89, 91 and 92 — a 49-year-old woman and two men, aged 49 and 66.

“Influenza can be a serious and deadly disease, especially for the elderly and young infants, as well as for people with chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes,” said county public health officer Wilma Wooten, adding that last season 14 people died locally from influenza.

The number of people sick with influenza has doubled in the last week to a total of 311 reported cases. There were 143 cases reported the prior week, HHSA spokesman Jose Alvarez said.

A total of 670 flu cases this season have been reported as of January 12.

The vaccine is well-matched to the viruses that are circulating around San Diego, Wooten said.

“The best protection against the flu is to be vaccinated. It is not too late to do it,” said Wooten. “There is available vaccine for those who want to be immunized.

Wooten advised sick people should recuperate at home.  If symptoms worsen, they should seek a doctor or urgent care provider – not an emergency department..

“Emergency departments should only be used by people who are severely ill,” Wooten said. “People should go to an emergency department if they are having difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, or have flu-like symptoms that improve but then become worse.”

County public health centers have flu vaccine available for children and adults with no medical insurance. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.

Tips to prevent the flu:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Use hand sanitizers
  • Stay away from sick people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and clean commonly touched surfaces.

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