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SAN DIEGO — More San Diegans are getting sick with influenza this season than at similar times in recent years, the county says.

So far, the county Health and Human Services Agency has recorded 195 lab-confirmed cases of the flu, compared with only six at this time in 2020. “But that extremely low number came while many COVID-19 restrictions were still in place,” the county notes. “The prior five-year average was 128 cases to date.”

Given the pace of this season, health officials urged San Diegans to get their flu shot before more cases start popping up around the region.

“San Diegans should get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves and their families,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county deputy public health officer, said in a statement. “Getting a flu shot is especially important given that COVID-19 is still negatively impacting our communities. Influenza and COVID-19 can both be significant respiratory illnesses and we have safe and effective vaccines for both. You can even get a flu and COVID shot at the same time.”

The county has a list of flu shot locations online.

Health experts listed the following groups as most likely to get seriously ill from the flu:

  • People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control
  • Pregnant women
  • People aged 65 years and older
  • People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk

In addition to getting vaccinated, the county shared the following tips to avoid catching the flu:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and often
  • Use hand sanitizers
  • Stay away from sick people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean commonly touched surfaces
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others