A total of 74 flu cases were reported last week in San Diego County, 22 more than the 52 reported the prior week.
“We’re seeing a steady increase in flu cases in recent weeks, a sign that influenza activity in the region is growing,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The best protection against influenza is getting a flu shot.”
Last week’s flu case total is more than double the 33 lab-confirmed cases reported during the same week last season. To date, three San Diegans have died from influenza this season, compared to one death at the same time last year. Last season, 77 people in the region died from complications from the flu.
“Everyone should get vaccinated now to avoid getting sick, especially those people at higher risk of developing complications from influenza,” Wooten added.
The County Health and Human Services Agency publishes the Influenza Watch weekly report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region. The report is released every Wednesday during the flu season.
For the week ending Nov. 9, the Influenza Watch report shows the following:
• Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 3 percent of all visits (compared to 3 percent the previous week)
• Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 74 (compared to 52 the previous week)
• Total influenza deaths to date: 3 (compared to 1 at this time last season)
• Total lab-confirmed cases to date: 475 (compared to 190 last season)
Your Best Shot Against the Flu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.
Flu 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 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 County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 211 San Diego.