There have been several deaths in California from this year's flu season, as flu and cold virus activity is increasing and has now reached widespread levels around the state. According to a recent press release from the Mendocino County Public Health Department today, "Northern California, including Mendocino County, is seeing the most flu activity." Flu season usually peaks from December until February but can last until May.
In order to reduce the spread of influenza around the county, which has greater impacts on the young, elderly, and other more vulnerable residents, the county's Public Health department has put out these tips about how to protect yourself during flu season, and recommends locals receive a flu shot, stay home when sick, and wash their hands regularly.
The county is providing flu shots for all residents for $15 but no one will be turned away from lack of funds. Other precautions are being put in place, as well: on Monday, Jan. 9, Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits issued a press release requesting visitors with the flu and younger visitors refrain from visiting patients unless necessary. Hospital staff will screen visitors about flu-like symptoms before allowing them to visit patients.
Here's a message from MCPH:
It is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu. Public Health recommends a yearly flu shot for everyone six months of age and older, including pregnant women. The flu samples that have been tested match very closely to the current vaccine strains assuring protection against the flu.
Along with getting immunized, it is recommended that both children and adults:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw away the used tissue
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Contact your doctor’s office, pharmacy, or the Public Health branch of the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency about receiving a flu shot. Public Health offers no-cost flu shots for children who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children Program. Flu shots are also offered to adults at Public Health with a suggested donation of fifteen dollars; no one will be turned away if they are unable to afford the donation. For immunization clinic information, please call Public Health at (707) 472-2600.
For additional information on the flu, please visit:
And here's a video about this year's severe flu season from the California Office of Emergency Services: