Severe flu strain hitting young, healthy adults - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Severe flu strain hitting young, healthy adults

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Flu season is officially upon us, and here in San Diego the number of cases is already up over this time last year. Health officials say the virus is hitting young adults harder than ever.

Across the country, states are dealing with a fierce start to a flu season. In Oklahoma, the number of flu hospitalizations has doubled over the last week. In Indiana, 25-year-old Anne Phillips-Dwan's family is mourning her passing after getting the flu coupled with pneumonia.

"The unique thing we're seeing is the predominant strain we're seeing is the pandemic H1N1, similar to the strain that caused the influenza pandemic in 2009," Dr. Wilma Wooten of San Diego County Public Health said.

Wooten says the flu rate is up 150 percent in the county. And when it comes to severe cases, this time last year three people in the county were hospitalized with flu. This year, it's already at 10.

"With (H1N1), it has a predilection for young adults and children, whereas the typical seasonal strain impacts the elderly," Wooten said.

She says symptoms of the flu include coughing, a fever 100 degrees of higher, sore throat, and feeling just tired and run down. Here's how to avoid it.

"The most important thing for everybody to know is that anyone 6 months of age or older should get an annual flu shot," Wooten said.

But no flu shot is full proof, so Wooten says disinfection is key.

"If you're healthy, washing your hands frequently -- particularly before you eat and drink. And just not touching your eyes, nose, after you've touched items in the environment, because that's how germs can be spread," she said.

Health officials are urging San Diegans to take these precautions. No deaths have happened in the county so far, and they want to keep it that way.

County public health centers offer flu vaccines for children and adults without medical insurance. For clinic locations, CLICK HERE >>

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