By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

San Diego County health officials are reporting an increase in influenza cases at this time in the season. They note that a total of 420 influenza cases have been reported in the region, more than double the 157 cases that had been reported at the same time last year.

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“The higher number of cases is an indication that influenza activity is increasing in the region,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.

In addition, county health officials report the third influenza death this season in a 80-year-old man from North County. He had been vaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

“Influenza can be deadly, especially for those with underlying medical conditions,” said Wooten. “Our condolences go out to the man’s family and friends.”

Wooten says, “If you have not gotten a flu shot, do it now. The vaccine is here and readily available.”

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