The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced today that influenza activity is elevated and continues increasing throughout the county, and again urged residents to get flu vaccinations for everyone aged six months and older.
To date, there are 36 confirmed influenza-associated deaths in Los Angeles County this flu season. 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 percent.
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 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 illnesses.
For more information about the flu, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov.