SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/CNS) — A man and a woman in their 80s died last week of complications from influenza, bringing the region's "flu season" death toll to three, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported Thursday.
The man, 83, and woman, 89, were already dealing with medical problems, according to the HHSA.
"The flu can be a deadly illness," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. "Getting a flu shot now will help you stay well."
Three people had also died of influenza-related causes by this time last year. In the last "flu season," 68 people died.
The agency reported that the number of lab-confirmed cases is more than double that of this time in 2015 — 417 this year compared to 200 last year.
Health officials say flu activity starts to increase in the fall and infections can last through May.
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. People 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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