The County of Orange Health Care Agency (HCA) has confirmed Orange County’s first influenza-related death in a person under 65 years of age this season. An adult female resident of Santa Ana who had underlying health conditions died of complications related to influenza infection. Public Health Laboratory testing confirmed that she was infected with influenza A virus.
“This is an important reminder that influenza can cause serious illness, particularly in persons with underlying health conditions,” County Health Officer Dr. Eric Handler said. “Everyone over six months of age should be vaccinated each year.”
Influenza is a seasonal contagious respiratory illness, which can be caused by influenza A or B viruses. Flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue. Flu illness can be severe, leading to missed school or work, hospitalization and even death.
Flu virus is mainly spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes. The best way to protect against both influenza A and B viruses is by getting vaccinated each year. Vaccinations are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, and are especially important for infants, young children, pregnant women, adults over 50 and those with chronic medical conditions. Close contacts and caregivers of these high-risk people should also be vaccinated.
Most insurance plans including Medi-Cal and Medicare cover flu vaccination from your health care provider. In addition, many clinics and pharmacies offer no-cost or low-cost flu shots throughout Orange County. The HCA will be offering free seasonal influenza vaccinations for people six months of age and older. If you do not have a medical provider or insurance, we encourage you to get vaccinated through our Family Health Clinic in Santa Ana.
Vaccinations are available on a walk-in basis on the following days and times:
8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.
1725 West 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706
Remember these important steps to help stop the spread of flu and other germs:
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (or sleeve if you are caught by surprise)
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water (or alcohol-based sanitizer, if not available)
- Stay home if you are sick (at least 24 hours after your fever is gone)
The most current local information, including vaccination locations, is available at www.ochealthinfo.com/flu or by calling the Health Referral Line at 800-564-8448 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This article was released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.