The City Health Officer confirmed the first flu-associated death in Long Beach this season, that of a Long Beach adult who was younger than 50 years old and had underlying health conditions.
“This death is a serious reminder that flu can cause serious illness,” said Anissa Davis, MD, MPH, Long Beach City Health Officer. “The Long Beach Health Department continues to recommend that all individuals six months of age and older get their flu vaccine. It is not too late in the season to protect yourself from flu.”
The California Department of Public Health has reported 54 cases of confirmed flu-related deaths statewide so far this season. The most commonly detected flu strain thus far has been influenza B, but influenza A strains also are circulating.
Getting the flu vaccine can prevent people from getting sick or may lessen the severity of symptoms for those who become ill. The flu vaccine protects against both influenza A and B viruses and is recommended for everyone over six months of age, especially young children, pregnant women, adults over 50 and those with chronic medical conditions. Caretakers and close contacts of these individuals also should be vaccinated.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness which spreads primarily through droplets from coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. Flu can lead to severe illness, resulting in pneumonia and even death.
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, people should practice good hygiene such as washing hands, covering coughs and staying home when sick.
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) continues to vaccinate residents throughout the flu season. To schedule an appointment for a low-cost flu shot, residents can call the Immunization Clinic at 562.570.4315.
For the most up-to-date information on flu in Long Beach, visit www.longbeach.gov/flu.