Counties across the state and the nation are reporting an increase in the number of severe flu cases, particularly of the H1N1 virus that caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009.
Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated in the wake of recent flu-related deaths and a new strain of the H1N1 virus.
"A yearly flu vaccine is the most important step in preventing influenza," said Dr. Ron Chapman, California Department of Public Health director. "It’s important to remember that unlike other vaccine preventable diseases, it is necessary to get a flu shot every year."
The CDPH reports that patients in many California counties, as well as other states, are critically ill with the sickness, including healthy young adults.
In addition to getting a vaccination, it is important to practice good health habits, including staying home when you’re sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, washing your hands with soap and water, eating a nutritious diet and getting enough sleep.
"It’s impossible to predict the severity of a flu season, but the best way to prevent spread of the flu is to get vaccinated," Chapman said. The CDPH says that a vaccine is especially important for women who are pregnant, as well as other people with are at high risk for severe influenza.
For more H1N1 flu prevention information visit the following links:
- California Department of Public Health H1N1 Flu Prevention Information Page
- Flu Vaccine Finder
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention Seasonal Influenza Page
- Google Flu Trends Map