SAN DIEGO -- San Diego County health officials are cautiously optimistic about this year's flu season, which begins next week and runs till about April.
In the last few weeks, the number of documented flu cases have paled in comparison to the same time last season when 342 deaths in the county were attributed to the flu.
"Last year was a very severe season for us, one of the worse flu seasons that we've seen in the last two decades," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the County's Public Heath Officer.
Wooten said there's no way of knowing how the rest of the season will go, but one way to keep the numbers down is by getting vaccinated.
"Pregnant women can be vaccinated in any trimester, individuals that have chronic health conditions like hypertension, heart disease, asthma, diabetes and people with HIV and Cancer can decrease their immune system," said Wooten.
Children and the elderly are urged to get the influenza vaccine as well.
Other recommended methods to prevent the spread of the influenza virus is to wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds and/or using alcohol-based sanitizers.
Those who don't have medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, click here or call 211 San Diego.