Seeing a spike in flu cases in California and across the country, officials are urging people to get their annual flu shots, the California Department of Public Health said.
Counties across the state and the nation are reporting an increase in the number of cases, particularly of the H1N1 virus -- or so-called swine flu that caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009.
While it targets people of all ages, children and young adults are more susceptible to the infection, and the CDPH is urging people to get their flu shots.
"A yearly flu vaccine is the most important step in preventing influenza," said CDPH director Dr. Ron Chapman. "It’s important to remember that unlike other vaccine preventable diseases, it is necessary to get a flu shot every year."
The CDPH reports that patients in many California counties, as well as other states, are critically ill with the sickness, including healthy young adults.
In addition to getting a vaccination, it is important to practice good health habits, including staying home when you’re sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, washing your hands with soap and water, eating a nutritious diet and getting enough sleep.
"It’s impossible to predict the severity of a flu season, but the best way to prevent spread of the flu is to get vaccinated," Chapman said. The CDPH says that a vaccine is especially important for women who are pregnant, as well as other people with are at high risk for severe influenza.
To find a flu vaccine location near you, click here.