Santa Clara County health officials on Friday reported two new flu deaths, bringing the county total to 8 this season. Alameda County officials also announced a new death, bringing the Bay Area total to 31.
Santa Clara County Health Dept. spokeswoman Amy Cornell said a 58-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man died of H1N1 in Santa Clara County this week. Both of them, she said, had underlying conditions.
Santa Clara County has the highest number of flu deaths in any of the region's nine counties.
MORE: Flu Prevention Tips
Here is the breakdown by county:
- Santa Clara County - 8 deaths
- Alameda County - 4 deaths
- Marin County - 2 deaths
- San Mateo County - 4 deaths
- San Francisco - 2 death
- Contra Costa County - 5 deaths
- Solano County - 1 death
- Sonoma County - 4 deaths
- Napa County - 1 death
Officials announced Friday that 20 percent of the people who have died from the flu in California this season did receive a flu shot.
California health officials have now confirmed 98 deaths and say they're investigating 51 more reported just this past week.
As an infectious disease specialist at Washington Hospital in Fremont, Dr. Dianne Martin is on the frontlines.
Martin said the flu shot is still your best defense, but adds, you can gain added protection by taking other steps to boost your immune system.
“Stress makes anything worse,” Martin said, “whether it’s your blood pressure or diabetes, and it ramps up your adrenalin, which is bad for the immune system.”
Martin said exercise can stimulate endorphins and special proteins in your body that can boost your immune system. She also recommends drinking plenty of fluids.
The majority of this season's deaths have been linked to swine flu, which first emerged in 2009. The H1N1 strain is known to be more dangerous to young and middle-age adults than other strains of the flu.
Health officials are urging everyone ages 6 months and older to get vaccinated. Those considered at highest risk are those 65 and older, children less than two years old, pregnant women and those with medical conditions like asthma, heart disease and weakened immune systems.
The peak of flu season is between January and March, and the vaccine takes about two weeks after inoculation to be fully effective, according to health officials.
For more information on flu prevention, click here.