Health officials in Riverside and San Bernardino counties report their first flu-related deaths of the season. Jacob Rascon reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Friday Jan. 10, 2014.
Health officials confirm that a 30-year-old Coachella Valley man who died this week tested positive for influenza, making it the first flu-related death in Riverside County this season.
The man tested positive for the H1N1 strain, commonly known as swine flu. He died after being briefly hospitalized, according to Riverside County public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser.
Officials are looking into whether the man suffered from other health issues that may have contributed to his death. They have also not confirmed whether he had received a flu vaccine.
Though flu activity has increased statewide, health officials said flu activity in Riverside County overall is within the expected levels for the season.
There have been nine cases of swine-flu related deaths in the Bay Area this season, according to NBC Bay Area.
Last week, Orange County officials confirmed that a 28-year-old woman had died because of a flu-related illness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasize the importance of getting a flu vaccine, and recommends that all people over the age of six months receive a flu vaccination each year.
"Some people wrongly believe that it is too far into the flu season," Kaiser said. "There is still time and the vaccine is readily available."
Health officials are advising people to effectively wash their hands and properly cover coughs and sneezes to prevent the spread of the flu. They also encourage those who are ill to stay home in order to prevent spreading the virus to co-workers and classmates.