With influenza cases now confirmed in California, the state’s public health officer is urging those who want protection from the flu to get immunized.
“Thousands of serious illnesses and deaths can be prevented this flu season if Californians get immunized with a seasonal flu vaccine, our best defense against the flu,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
CDPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are again recommending flu vaccine this year for everyone six months of age and older. It is especially important that certain groups be vaccinated, like those who live with or care for others who are at a greater risk of developing complications. These groups are:
• Pregnant women;
• Children younger than five;
• Adults 50 years and older;
• People of any age with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes;
• People who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities; and
• People who live with or care for those at high-risk for complications from the flu, including health care and day care workers.
Influenza is a viral respiratory infection that can leave its victims incapacitated for several days with fever, muscle aches, sore throat and cough. Each year an average of 24,000 people die from influenza and its complications in the United States.
Californians can obtain their flu shot from their health care providers or workplace wellness center:
• Find a flu clinic near you.
• For information about low- and no-cost flu vaccines, contact your local health department.
• For more information about the flu, visit the CDPH Immunization Branch website.
To help stop the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses, Californians should also:
• Stay home when sick.
• Cover their coughs or sneezes with an elbow or a tissue, and then properly dispose of used tissues.
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding contact with eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay healthy. Everyone benefits from eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, not smoking, and getting adequate rest and exercise