San Diego

Doctors Warn San Diego Is Being ‘Hit Hard' By Flu This Season

Local doctors are warning residents of San Diego County that the flu is hitting hard this year. Ten people have died this season according to San Diego County officials. 

Two men younger than 65 are included in the death rate, officials said. They passed away from Influenza A. 

Health officials said last season at this time, there were four deaths in the county. 

"We've seen about 50 percent or above our usual patient volumes every day," said Dr. Phil Yphantides, Medical Director of Sharp Rees-Stealy Urgent Care. "And this is the worst we've seen in eight years." 

Doctors add peak flu season isn't until January or February. They worry this flu season could be on par with the Swine Flu epidemic of 2009 that killed thousands of people around the world. 

Health officers added many students at Poway Unified School District were out with the flu and some urgent care offices in the area had wait times up to two hours long on Christmas Day. 

But why are flu cases on the rise? Every year, health officials have to predict what strain of flu will be a problem. Because the virus can mutate, sometimes the vaccine becomes less effective. 

"Some years the flu vaccine is a good match and some years it's not," said Yphantides. "It looks like the flu vaccine this year is not as good as previous years."

There are ways to protect yourself from the flu, doctors say. 

"The vaccine is still the single best option we have to prevent influenza," said Yphantides. 

Yphantides adds if you think you have the flu and it is not urgent, stay at home from work or school to prevent contaminating others. Take over-the-counter fever reducers and wash your hands frequently. And make sure to drink plenty of fluids. 

A total of 3,195 flu cases have been reported this season so far. 

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