LOS ANGELES –Today, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) announced that influenza (flu) activity is elevated and is increasing throughout Los Angeles County. To protect the public’s health, Public Health urges flu vaccinations for everyone aged six months and older.
To date, there are 36 confirmed influenza-associated deaths in Los Angeles County. Last year at this time, 13 deaths associated with influenza had been reported. This flu season, emergency room visits for influenza-like illness symptoms are up 130%.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against the flu every year. Flu vaccination is especially important for people who are at greater risk for complications from flu and those who live with or care for these individuals. Groups of people that are at high risk for flu complications include children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and pregnant women. Medical conditions such as asthma, chronic lung or heart disease, diabetes and being overweight (body-mass index >40) can also increase your risk for flu complications.
Most people will recover with rest and fluids, and are urged to call their doctor or nurse hotline, rather than visit an emergency department, where wait times may be long at this time. People at greater risk for complications from the flu should seek medical care as soon as they begin to feel ill, whether or not they have been vaccinated.
In addition to getting a flu vaccine, practicing good hygiene can help prevent getting and spreading the flu. This includes washing your hands, covering your coughs and sneezes, not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and staying home if you’re sick.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Pneumonia is the most common complication of the flu. Flu can also aggravate underlying health conditions like heart disease or asthma. Annually, thousands of people nationwide are hospitalized or die from influenza- associated illness.
For more information about the flu, visit www.publichea lth.lacounty.gov.
For a video on influenza, visit http://bit.ly/FluVideoLAC.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of over 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,100 employees and has an annual budget of $1 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichea lth.lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lap ublichealth, facebook.co m/lapublichealth and youtube.com/ lapublichealth.