The California Department of Public Health said Friday the state has had its first flu death this season.
The death was an adult in Southern California.
Flu activity remains at a regional levels in California. Fresno County has had three hospitalizations but no deaths.
“We are early on in what could be a severe flu season, and I encourage everyone who has not yet gotten a flu vaccination to do so. The influenza vaccine remains the most effective way to protect yourself from the flu,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, state health officer.
Influenza is already widespread in 43 other states and there have been 21 pediatric influenza deaths nationwide so far this season.
It is not too late to get flu vaccine. The Fresno County Department of Public Health is offering flu shots at two clinics this month. The vaccine will be available from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at 1221 Fulton Mall. The cost of each vaccination will be $6. Medi-Cal for children and Medicare Part B will also be accepted.
It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination, and protection lasts several months to a year. Vaccines may also be available at physician’s offices, clinics, pharmacies and at special flu vaccination events promoted in retail stores. Get more information about flu shots at www.flu.gov or, in Fresno County, at www.fcdph.org/flu or by calling (888) 993-3003.
People who are ill should take actions to stop the spread of germs such as:
• While sick, stay home and limit contact with others
• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based rub
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Those at highest risk of severe influenza — the elderly, pregnant women, infants, or people with other health conditions — who show flu symptoms should contact their doctor to get the most effective treatment. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.