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California Reports Two Flu Deaths

Health officials are urgently telling residents to get vaccinated.

Influenza is spreading in California with two deaths reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through Dec. 29, according to the most recent statistics available.

In a weekly report posted on the CDC’s website, it states, “(California Department of Public Health) CDPH received one report of an influenza-associated death in an adult less than 65 years of age during Week 52.  A total of two influenza-associated deaths among persons less than 65 years of age have been reported to CDPH to date during the 2012–2013 influenza season.”   

Tell us in the comments: How are you protecting you and your loved ones from the flu? 

To date, there have been no reported deaths, hospitalizations, or outbreaks in San Mateo County due to flu-related complications.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, chief of pediatric infectious disease at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford told the San Jose Mercury News, "We are seeing some cases, but I would say less than two dozen since we started tracking back in October."   

But if you’ve paid attention to the national news, you know that the flu is roaring through other parts of the country. Hospitals in several states have been overwhelmed. One hospital had emergency room waits of 24 hours. Another set up tents as a triage for patients.

Here's a look at the most recent national CDC flu map.

From the federal to the state to the local level, health officials are saying the same thing—get immunized. The flu season will not peak until next month and this year’s shot contains the exact strains that are circulating.

Here’s advice from the San Mateo County Health Department on flu shots:

You can get flu shots at:

I got the flu vaccine last year. Do I need to get it again this year?
Yes. Flu viruses change from year to year, and the vaccine is updated each year to provide protection against current viruses.

How can I protect myself?
The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.

You can also take everyday steps to avoid getting and spreading the flu virus:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough, and throw the tissue away.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol hand cleaner, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Stay away from people who are sick.

Who should get a flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get a yearly flu shot. Some people are at a higher risk for serious flu complications. This group includes young children, people ages 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. Families and caregivers of these people should also get an annual flu shot to reduce their risk of getting the flu.

Is the flu shot safe, and can it give me the flu?
The flu shot is safe and effective. The flu shot does not contain any live viruses, so you cannot get the flu from the flu shot.

How is seasonal flu treated?
People sick with the flu should make sure they drink fluids, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, wash their hands frequently and stay home to avoid giving the flu to other people. Over the counter pain medicines may also help people with the flu feel more comfortable. For more information, contact your medical provider.

Where can I find more information?
Contact your medical provider or call the County flu hotline at (650) 573-3927.

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