The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can go to a Community Health Center or County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.
The fever, chills and body aches caused by the flu are increasing across the nation, and San Diego is no exception. The number of influenza cases reported in San Diego County this season increased to 303 as of the week ending Jan. 2, up from 238 the week before that, a 27 percent increase. “Influenza activity tends to increase in January and typically continues through February,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer. For the week ending Jan. 2, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following: Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 4 percent of all visits (unchanged from the previous week) Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 65 (up from 41 the previous week) Total influenza deaths to date: 3 (compared to 0 last season) Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 303 (compared to 590 last season) Even though the number of flu cases reported this season is 49 percent lower compared to this same time last year, health officials continue to urge residents to get vaccinated as flu activity is likely to increase. Furthermore, three influenza deaths have been reported this season. None had been reported at this time last year. “While the overall number of flu cases in the region is lower compared to this time last season, people should not become complacent. Influenza is very unpredictable and people should get vaccinated,” Wooten added. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. They include: People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if your symptoms are under control Pregnant women People 65 years and older People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk In addition to getting vaccinated, people should also do the following to avoid getting sick: 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 The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can go to a Community Health Center or County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.