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Dramatic increase in California flu deaths

12 January 2018

Nicole is the Director of Employee Health at Community Regional Medical Center.

State health officials are warning members of the public to protect themselves against an influenza that has claimed at least 27 lives so far this season, with cases climbing at a faster rate than in past years. Compared to the same time previous year, influenza-like illness (ILI) activity is twice as great, with the current flu season not yet reaching its peak. These early indicators suggest that it may be more severe than usual.

And three children in Tennessee have died of flu so far this month.

In fact, state health officials say it's not the typical flu season - and that it's worse than in some years past. Since then, state reports show doctor's office visits and hospitalizations from the flu and pneumonia are already at levels usually seen at the peak of flu season.

Officials said their emergency department staff is working with an unusually high number of people with flu and gastrointestinal distress.

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The deaths have ranged in people ages 1- to 101-years-old. Children are what we often refer to as "super spreaders", meaning that they share germs more readily than others. "We all need to take appropriate precautions against getting the flu", Matyas said.

What is making some medical professionals nervous is that the flu vaccine may not be as effective as hoped. Flu vaccination is especially important for people who are at greater risk for complications from flu and those who live with or care for these individuals.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against the flu.

Get a flu vaccine because it's the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others.

"Some people just choose to stay home and tough it out", Kaltenberg said. Try to use a tissue to cover your mouth and keep in mind to dispose of it sadly in a nearby bin. Do not forget to wash your hands after you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

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The proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness increased from 4.9 to 5.8 percent.

Also, if your doctor prescribes an antiviral medication like Tamiflu (oseltamivir), Relenza (zanamivir) and Rapivab (peramivir), be sure to take it. 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.

His message: "Even right now, it's not too late to get your flu vaccine, your flu shot, it does protect you", Kent said.

"As of today, there's no shortage of influenza vaccine in California". If a child is vaccinated but still gets the flu, he or she will likely have a milder version of the disease.

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Dramatic increase in California flu deaths