News

Health officials warn flu season could get worse

Reminders: Wash your hands, cough into your sleeve and stay home if ill

There have been at least four flu-related deaths in the Bay Area so far, and public health officials warn that while flu-season has been mild so far, it could still become severe.

In prepared statements from public health departments in San Francisco, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and Alameda County, public health officers are warning that flu activity is increasing.

Two of the people who died were in San Mateo County, officials said Friday. No one in Palo Alto or Santa Clara County has died of the flu this season.

"Although Ebola has gotten a lot of attention recently, flu is a much more real threat here in the Bay Area," said Dr. George Han, deputy health officer of Santa Clara County. "Every year, flu sickens and kills thousands of Americans and is particularly dangerous to the young, elderly and those with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems."

Area residents are advised to get flu shots, wash their hands, and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, public health officials said.

Flu shots typically protect against three to four different flu strains. So far this season the H3N2 strain has been most common, but roughly

half of the H3N2 samples analyzed show slight changes making this year's vaccine somewhat less effective at protecting against it, officials said.

They still recommend getting vaccinated, however, as the flu shot can protect against other potentially dangerous flu strains.

Individuals who fall ill are advised to limit their contact with others by staying home from work or school. Coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or elbow, rather than your hand, can also be helpful in preventing the spread of the flu virus.

Vaccination is recommended for anyone over the age of sixth months, and officials say it is important for individuals in high-risk categories like the elderly, pregnant women and children under five years old.

People with medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, asthma and heart disease are also advised to get vaccinated.

— Bay City News Service

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Redo
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2015 at 10:47 pm

The flu season will continue for months - when the vaccine is such a miss, can't they redo it before the season is over?


Like this comment
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Three vax isn't a miss. It's still effective. If another vax was going to soon be ready, don't you think they'd announce that?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Rose International Market reopening soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 10 comments | 4,342 views

The trauma of having to renew my California driver’s license
By Diana Diamond | 13 comments | 1,829 views

Eyes and the End of Life: Why Spend Time With the Dying?
By Aldis Petriceks | 2 comments | 1,686 views

Downtown Commercial Cap: Once more into the breach
By Douglas Moran | 4 comments | 1,494 views

Couples: Myth: You Can't Ask Your Partner to Change
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,387 views

 

Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details