But don’t worry. A flu shot can keep the virus away.
Dec. 8 through 14 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and County Health and Human Services Agency officials are reminding the public get vaccinated.
“People are more likely to get the flu when attending large gatherings,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Even though the holiday season has arrived, it is not too late to get your flu vaccine, the best thing you can do to avoid getting sick.”
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, but it is especially important that people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza get vaccinated. They include:
- People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and lung disease
- Pregnant women
- People 65 years and older
- People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk
Last flu season, 65 people in the region died due to complications from influenza. Although the majority were older adults and all but one had pre-existing medical conditions, the deaths serve as a strong reminder for people to get vaccinated.
“The flu vaccine can reduce illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work due to the flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths,” added Wooten.
The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, and community clinics. People with no medical insurance can get a free flu shot at a County public health center. The influenza vaccines available this season protect against Influenza A H3N2, Pandemic H1N1-like and Influenza B strains.
In addition to getting vaccinated, these simple steps work to reduce your risk of getting the flu: wash your hands thoroughly and often, or use hand sanitizers; stay away from sick people; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and routinely clean commonly touched surfaces. Also, if you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with others.
For more information about influenza, visit sdiz.org. You can call 2-1-1 San Diego for the nearest County public health center.
—County of San Diego