US flu season arrives early, driven by an unexpected virus

Woman sneezing with facial tissues

Woman sneezing with facial tissues

Taneja says we are already trending higher early in the season for flu illness. This death involves a young child.

The last influenza report issued by the department in mid-November showed elevated activity of flu in every county around the state except for Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial counties.

I urge you to read the information and stories at GetMyShot.org and get a flu shot this season.

"Flu activity is starting earlier than usual in California this season", Dr. Sonia Angell, the state's public health officer and director of CDPH, said in a news release Friday.

He says residents should get a flu shot if they haven't already.

Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you or your child are sick. Another part of hand hygiene is to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. While anyone can get the flu, pregnant women, adults 65 years of age and older, and people with chronic conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and asthma are particularly at risk for flu-related complications.

Although the weekly number of flu cases is still relatively low, those eligible to receive a vaccine should do so as soon as possible to have better protection before the peak period arrives, the CDC said. Vaccination can moderate flu symptoms even in individuals who get sick from the virus, and high vaccination rates helps reduce the spread of the highly contagious respiratory disease.

Influenza A viruses are also in circulation with the dominant flu virus varying by region and age of patient, according to the CDC.

Across the USA and in California, we now have an outbreak of acute lung disease associated with vaping.

According to CDC disease monitoring statistics, there were 74,157 hospital visits for flu-like symptoms from November 24 to Saturday last week, which was 2.6 percent higher than the week before, and has not reached the epidemic threshold. If you visit your health care provider for symptoms you think might be influenza, be sure to tell your provider about your use of e-cigarettes or vaping. Exactly how many cases there are annually largely depends on the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.

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