San Diego, California - Two more people in the San Diego region died from complications from influenza, the County Health and Human Services Agency reported today.

An 83-year-old man and an 89-year-old woman died in December from influenza-related complications, bringing this season’s total to three, according to the latest Influenza Watch report. Both had underlying medical conditions.  Three influenza deaths were reported at this time last year.

Given the two additional deaths, County health officials continue to remind San Diegans that the best protection against the flu is getting vaccinated.

“The flu can be a deadly illness,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Getting a flu shot now will help you stay well.”

For the week ending December 17, 2016, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:

  • Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 2 percent of all visits (same as the previous week)
  • Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 125 (up from 61 the previous week)
  • Total lab-confirmed influenza cases to date: 417 (compared to 200 last season)

How to Prevent the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop.

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

The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can go to a County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 2-1-1.