Flu activity increases throughout state

The California Department of Public Health recently announced that influenza activity is increasing throughout California. Health officials encourage Californians to get vaccinated.

“It is important to get vaccinated now if you have not done so already,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “I encourage everyone 6 months of age and older to be vaccinated to help protect themselves and others from the dangers of flu.”

Flu activity is occurring throughout every region of the state and above expected levels for this time of year. Although the severity of the flu season cannot yet be determined, Californians should take precautions, including vaccination.

“Flu activity usually reaches its peak January and February, but typically continues to spread through the spring,” said Dr. Smith. “With most of the flu season still to come, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.”

Each year, the flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands or sometimes tens of thousands of deaths in the United States.
Common symptoms of the flu include fever or feeling feverish, a cough and/or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, chills, fatigue and body aches. Children may also have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

To stop the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses, CDPH recommends these steps:
• Stay home when sick.
• Cover a cough or sneeze with an elbow or tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Californians should contact their health care provider, pharmacy or a clinic about obtaining the flu vaccine. Some local health departments may also offer low- or no-cost flu shots. For more information about the flu, including weekly updates on flu activity, visit the CDPH influenza web page. To find a vaccine location near you, visit HealthMap Vaccine Finder.