Statewide, 29 flu deaths had been reported this season as of December 30, with 26 flu-like outbreaks in long-term care facilities, according to the state Department of Health.
Despite the vaccination being less effective this year, especially against the more common H3N2 strain, public health officials are still urging people to get the shot.
That number, is almost double the 11 flu-related deaths reported around the same time past year in the state. "The flu can make chronic health problems even worse and trigger asthma attacks by causing further inflammation of the lungs and airways, while those with chronic congestive heart failure may experience a worsening of their condition". Only Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, and New Jersey reported regional flu activity.
Wright says it's normal to see a rise in reported flu cases in February, and she offers a resounding yes that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine.
Wednesday, Dr. Daniel B. Jerigan from the CDC, joined "GMA" to address the concerns and misconceptions about this year's flu cycle. We expect the flu season to reach its peak early this year, within the next few weeks, so it is important to get vaccinated now.
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They're recommended for everyone age 6 months and older and are available at pharmacies, doctor's offices and the health district.
Health officials also recommend people follow good personal hygiene habits to prevent spreading germs to others.
To stop the spread of flu viruses, the agency encourages people to wash their hands frequently, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and stay at home when feeling sick. You can find your local flu clinic on DHEC's website. Antiviral drugs can be prescribed by a physician, and work best if started within two days of getting sick.
People in "at risk" groups such as pregnant women or those over the age of 65 can get the flu vaccine itself free of charge. It can cause severe illness in some people, and can sometimes lead to death.
"The individual had a medical condition that put them at risk for severe illness", Solano County Health Officer and Health and Social Services Deputy Director Bela Matyas, said. "It's actually more effective for the other parts of the vaccine that are trying to prevent the other flus circulating".
Schaffner advised those with the flu to avoid contact with others. While most people who do become ill with flu can be safely cared for at home, there are some symptoms that should trigger immediate emergency care.