SAN DIEGO (CNS) - County health officials said Wednesday that 15 deaths due to complications from influenza were reported in the San Diego region last week, bringing the "flu season'' toll to 41.
The season total of fatalities remains far below that of last year, when 90 people had died as of this date.
The county Health and Human Services Agency reported that the ages of those who have died this season range from 35 to 95, and six victims had no known underlying medical conditions.
"It's unfortunate the flu continues to take a toll on San Diegans,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "While it appears the flu season may have peaked, flu activity in the region is still elevated.''
The number of influenza cases reported in San Diego dropped significantly, however, marking the second weekly decline in a row. But Wooten said people should still get vaccinated and take other precautions to avoid getting sick.
So far, more than 4,900 people have been sickened by the flu in San Diego County, compared to almost 6,400 last year.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots annually for everyone at least 6 months old. Vaccination is more important for people with weakened immune systems, as well as those who are pregnant, elderly or live with or care for others at high risk.
Other suggestions for staying healthy include frequent hand-washing, using hand sanitizers, staying away from sick people, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.
Flu vaccines are available at doctors offices and pharmacies. Those without medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. A list of locations is available at www.sdiz.org or by calling 211.
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