The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is announcing that influenza activity is increasing in the state and has reached “widespread” levels. Areas with the most influenza activity include the Northern California, Central California and Bay Area regions.
Since the beginning of the influenza season in California, CDPH has received reports of three influenza deaths and 29 severe influenza cases resulting in admission to the intensive care unit in patients 64 years old and younger.
Travel and holiday celebrations with large groups of people may factor into the increase in influenza activity. “Typically during this time of year, many people attend family events and parties. It’s also a perfect opportunity to catch the flu, especially for those who are not vaccinated,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.
In the United States, influenza activity reaches its highest levels between December and February, and may continue through May. It is not too late to get vaccinated against influenza. Now is a perfect time to do it: CDPH recommends the annual flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older, including pregnant women.
The flu specimens that have been tested match very closely to the current vaccine strains assuring protection against the flu. Along with getting immunized, other precautionary measures can be taken:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.