The flu season is already in full swing in Sacramento County. With these flu cases increasing so early in the season, Sacramento County Public Health urges everyone to prioritize getting the flu shot now to protect you and your family from the deadly virus.
Since the beginning of this year’s flu season, 12 flu cases have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Sacramento County and Public Health has received reports confirming influenza has claimed the life of a Sacramento County 66-year-old, as well as a 7-year-old who had multiple underlying medical conditions. This is the second pediatric death in California for the 2019/20 flu season.
Getting vaccinated is the best defense against the flu, but it takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity. The strains of influenza that are circulating in Sacramento County this season are Influenza B, which is most prevalent among the cases (ICU and deaths, all ages) reported to Public Health, and Influenza A (not subtyped and subtype H1N1 and H3N2). The flu vaccine, which is readily available, covers the strains of the flu that have been detected in Sacramento County.
The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual influenza vaccinations for everyone six months of age and older – including pregnant women – who do not have medical contraindication to receiving the vaccine.
A person’s decision to receive the flu vaccination or not affects the entire community – especially those who medically cannot have the flu vaccine. Those who have regular contact with people more vulnerable to the complications of flu – including babies, children with chronic health conditions such as asthma and diabetes, and adults 65 years and older – should get vaccinated so the flu virus isn’t spread to them.
“Everyone in the community, who can get vaccinated, should get vaccinated. Vaccination is the best protection against the flu, which is a preventable illness,” Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said. “As the number of vaccinated individuals in a community increases, it decreases the transmission of the flu virus to those who have not, or cannot be vaccinated resulting in fewer hospitalizations and deaths.”
The very contagious flu virus causes serious respiratory illness and comes on suddenly. Symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. Influenza may cause severe illness or even death in people such as the very young or old, or those who have underlying health conditions.
In addition to getting vaccinated, it’s crucial to practice good health habits. If you become ill with flu-like symptoms, you should take actions to stop the spread of germs, including:
- Limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
- Cover your coughs or sneezes with your sleeve or with a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu germs.
People with chronic medical conditions or those experiencing worsening flu symptoms should seek medical attention.
Sacramento County Public Health offers free flu vaccination clinics in the community. The next two free flu clinics offered are:
- Galt Library Tuesday, December 10, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1000 Caroline Avenue, Galt, CA. 95632
- Healthy Sacramento Day - Hagginwood Community Center, Saturday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., 3271 Marysville Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95815
If you need information about immunization services for children and adults, or need to refer clients or get information regarding upcoming influenza clinics, please contact the Sacramento County Immunization Assistance Program at 916-875-SHOT (7468) Monday-Friday between 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, or use the Flu Vaccine Finder on the CDC website
, or the HealthMap Flu Vaccine Finder