Twice as many San Diegans have the flu this year - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Twice as many San Diegans have the flu this year

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The number of San Diegans coming down with influenza continues to be more than double the cases as of this time last year, and an additional person has died of the illness, the county Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday.

The number of cases has been growing each week for the past two months, according to the HHSA.

Last week, 149 cases were confirmed by laboratory testing, one greater than the week before. So far in this "flu season," 589 illnesses have been reported, compared to 247 at this point last year.

"The flu is anticipated to continue to spread until the peak, which could be in February," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Avoid getting sick. Get a flu shot now."

The HHSA reported that an 87-year-old woman died of flu-related complications on Dec. 19. That brings the season's toll to four people -- all of them older and already dealing with medical problems -- compared to three in the same period 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. People without medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. A list of locations is available online or by calling 211.

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