California hit hard by flu
by Brooke Borba | Patterson Irrigator
Feb 13, 2014 | 1614 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fevers and sore throats continue to run rampant since the start of the New Year as health officials witness an alarming increase of the H1N1 virus within California.

As of Friday, Feb. 7, there have been 202 confirmed influenza-associated deaths within California, surpassing last year’s total of 106 deaths within two short months.

The 202 confirmed influenza-associated deaths this season have been reported by the following jurisdictions: Alameda (5), Contra Costa (5), El Dorado (2), Fresno (15), Glenn (1), Humboldt (1), Imperial (1), Kern (8), Kings (3), Lake (1), Lassen (1), Long Beach (3), Los Angeles (26), Madera (2), Marin (2), Mendocino (2), Merced (4), Monterey (2), Nevada (1), Orange (8), Riverside (6), Sacramento (21), San Bernardino (15), San Diego (17), San Francisco (3), San Joaquin (6), San Luis Obispo (1), San Mateo (4), Santa Barbara (2), Santa Clara (10), Santa Cruz (1), Shasta (1), Siskiyou (2), Solano (1), Sonoma (4), Stanislaus (12), Tulare (1), Tuolumne (1) and Ventura (1).

There are an additional 41 deaths currently under investigation.

According to a release by the California Department of Public Health and the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, reports have flood in concerning the vast amount of flu activity in California hospitals and clinics, citing the flu as a critical illness so far this year.

“We are seeing a big uptick in disease in the past couple of weeks,” said Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of Epidemiology and Prevention in the US Center for Disease Control’s Influenza Division. “The virus is all around the United States right now.”

Their reports have predominately found that the virus continues to target the elderly, pregnant women, infants or those with other health conditions. Although adults are at risk as well, parents and guardians are encouraged to remain vigilant of their children’s demeanor and symptoms. Four of the 202 are pediatric deaths. Children younger than 5-years-of-age, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions are extremely susceptible at this time.

Common symptoms

H1N1, also known as swine flu, displays symptoms similar to other influenza viruses, which include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, dizziness, body aches, throbbing headaches, chills and a loss of fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting have also been reported symptoms, although they are not considered as commonplace and are more common in children than adults.

Treatment and prevention methods

To help prevent the spread of the seasonal flu, the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency has compiled a list of prevention techniques.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as often as possible

- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or tissue; never use your hands

- Wash your hands often and carry a bottle of sanitizer with you for travel

- If feeling unwell, stay home

The public is urged to check with their primary care provider or local pharmacy for vaccine availability. Vaccinations are currently being offered at the Stanislaus County Public Health Department for $10 per child and $25 per adults from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays at the Public Health division at 820 Scenic Drive in Modesto. No appointments are necessary.

Free flu shots were given from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on the following Saturdays at the Del Puerto Health Center:

 Saturday, Jan. 18: 44 people

 Saturday, Feb. 1: 88 people

Whooping Cough

Pertussis, better known as the whooping cough, has also been reportedly on the rise this year, claiming the life of a Riverside County infant less than six months old. It is the first confirmed death from the disease since the latest pandemic in 2010. Pertussis is known to cycle with peaks every three to five years. In 2010, 9,100 cases were reported, along with 10 deaths.

For more information, the Stanislaus County Flu Hotline is available at 209-558-8872.

Contact the Patterson Irrigator at 892-6187, ext. 24 or brooke@pattersonirrigator.com.
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