Flu on the rise in L.A. County

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Influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that the community can take steps to avoid. 

Los Angeles County Public Health officials remind county residents that it is not too late to get a flu immunization. 

“Getting immunized against flu protects both the person who receives the immunization and also reduces the chance they will become ill and spread the flu to family and friends,” said Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County health officer. “People at higher risk for complications from the flu should seek medical care as soon as they begin to feel ill for an evaluation and potential antiviral treatment, whether or not they have been immunized.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that influenza activity remains elevated and widespread in the county, according to a Public Health news release.

Specifically, the influenza B virus is the main virus affecting the community at this time, but the A virus is steadily increasing in cases, officials report. 

“(The) flu usually spreads from person to person through droplets from a sick person’s cough or sneeze,” the release adds. “It also can spread if you touch a surface or an object that has flu virus on it, like a doorknob or computer keyboard, and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.” 

Persons older than 6 months should be immunized against the flu each year. Getting the immunization is the best way to prevent the spread of influenza among others, public health officials said. 

CDC explains in a news release that annual immunizations are important because “a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the ‘optimal’ or best protection against the flu.”

Sensitive populations, including the elderly, pregnant women and babies younger than 6 months, are vulnerable to complications from the flu, which is why they should get vaccinated, according to a Kaiser Permanente news release. 

“Without flu vaccination, you put yourself and those around you at higher risk of flu-related illnesses which could lead to hospitalizations and even death,” the release adds. 

You can get the flu immunization from your regular health care provider or local pharmacy. Immunization is also provided at no cost or low cost at various locations throughout the county. For more information visit the Public Health website at: http://bit.ly/LACflu. Residents may also call the L.A. County Information Line at 2-1-1.

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