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|For Immediate Release:
October 25, 2013
|For more information contact:
Public Health Communications
|Health Officer Confirms First Death From Influenza in LA
Everyone six months of age and older is urged to get a seasonal flu vaccine
|LOS ANGELES - The first confirmed influenza death in Los Angeles County for the 2013-2014 flu season has been reported. The decedent was a woman with underlying medical conditions who resided in the San Fernando Valley. The particular strain of influenza was identified as type B.
"The Department of Public Health encourages everyone 6 months of age and older to get their flu vaccination now," said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "We cannot predict how severe or how mild this flu season will be but the earlier you get your seasonal flu vaccine; either through the influenza shot or nasal spray, the sooner you will be protected from the flu. The nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in healthy people ages two through 49 who are not pregnant. Practice basic hygiene, too, such as hand washing, to prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases."
Recent surveillance in Los Angeles County shows that both the A and B influenza strains are circulating sporadically. Because immunity from flu vaccination declines over time and the strain of the flu virus changes from year to year, it is important to get vaccinated annually.
"We are starting to see the start of the flu season, so now is the time to get vaccinated," said Dr. Fielding. The flu can affect each person differently. Most individuals who get sick are able to treat themselves at home with over-the-counter medications, drinking plenty of fluids, resting and staying home from work or school. It is recommended that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to seek out medical care or other necessities. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others."
Residents are encouraged to contact their regular doctor or health plan for information on where and when they can get a flu vaccine. Many local community clinics and pharmacies are offering seasonal flu vaccine for a low fee. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is offering free flu vaccinations at special community outreach events.
To find locations where flu vaccinations are currently available visit http://www.ph.lacounty.gov/ip/flu/FluLocatorMain.htm or call the LA County Information Line at 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone in the county.
Influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone (except infants under six months of age). It is especially important that certain groups be vaccinated because they are either at greater risk of developing complications from the flu or because they live with or care for others who are at greater risk of developing complications. These groups are:
Flu is extremely contagious. Everyone is urged to practice basic hygiene to help reduce the chances of catching either the flu or other illnesses. These healthy habits include:
|Related Information Site(s):
More About Flu |
Flu Vaccine Location Finder