A half-dozen influenza-related deaths were confirmed last week in San Diego County, bringing the number of fatalities this flu season to 80 and more than last flu season's entire toll, the County Health and Human Services Agency reported Thursday.
Last season had 77 total deaths and just 44 at this time of the year. All but three of the people who have died from influenza this season had underlying medical conditions, the HHSA said.
Despite the number of deaths, the total number of reported influenza
cases decreased again last week to 784,431 fewer cases than the previous week.
To date, San Diego County has had 18,696 cases.
"It's very unfortunate but influenza deaths do occur every flu season,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "It's important for people to get vaccinated since the flu season is not over yet.''
Last flu season saw 6,103 cases by this time and 9,655 in total.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year -- especially pregnant women, those with chronic medical conditions, and people aged 65 years and older.
In addition to getting vaccinated, the CDC recommends 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
To receive a flu shot, click here to find a location near you.