First Influenza Death of the Season Reported
Health Officials urge preventative measures including vaccination and frequent hand washing
The Health Department regretfully announces the death of a Monterey County resident associated with influenza virus infection. The individual was an adult under the age of 65 years. The Health Department will not release additional details about the individual in order to protect the family’s right to privacy and to maintain confidentiality.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of this individual,” states Dr. Edward Moreno, Health Officer for Monterey County.
Disease surveillance data indicates that influenza activity is increasing in Monterey County. People at highest risk for severe complications from influenza infection include adults 65 years of age and older, children less than 5 years old, pregnant women, and those with certain medical conditions like asthma, heart disease, and weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. People at higher risk of severe disease who show flu symptoms should contact their medical provider. Medical providers may prescribe antiviral medications that reduce the severity and duration of illness. Antibiotics are not effective against the flu.
Dr. Moreno recommends that all individuals six months of age and older be vaccinated against influenza. “Influenza vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect your family from complications of influenza,” states Dr. Moreno. “It’s not too late to get vaccinated.” Though early reports indicate the vaccine may less effective in preventing influenza this season as we hoped, reports indicate that the vaccine is still very effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.
Free or low cost influenza vaccinations are offered at the following Monterey County Health Department Clinics:
- Alisal Health Center, 559 East Alisal St., Salinas. (831) 769-8870
- Seaside Family Health Center, 1150 Freemont Blvd., Seaside. (831) 899-8100
Other locations offering influenza vaccination can be found at: http://flushot.healthmap.org/
Health officials recommend that people take the following additional steps to protect themselves and loved ones from influenza:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, since hands may become contaminated with live influenza virus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand rub may be used.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Stay at least 6 feet away from individuals who are visibly ill.
- If you are sick, stay home from work or school until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours. Going to work or school while ill may pass the disease onto someone who is at risk for serious complications.