Flu Watch Update 2013 - 2014
The best thing anyone can do to protect against the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. Vaccinations not only protect you, but also your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors, as well as children younger than six months of age who are too young to get vaccinated.
• Last year, Los Angeles County saw a substantial increase in flu-attributed deaths compared to previous years. 2012 had the highest number of deaths since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic season, and the majority of deaths have occurred in adults aged 65-plus. Vaccines may be less effective in this age group because of chronic diseases, including obesity and/or high blood pressure. Additionally, L.A. County is experiencing higher rates of death among adults younger than 65 due to increasing rates of chronic illness and obesity.
• As summer comes to a close, the Beach Cities community is already seeing increases in emergency room visits for respiratory illnesses and flu diagnoses are beginning to increase. It’s important to know that flu vaccinations are currently available.
• Beach Cities Health District advises residents to follow flu vaccination guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), which recommends everyone six months of age and older be vaccinated.
• Vaccinations are most important for at-risk populations, including those age 65 years of age and older, children younger than two years old and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure, lung disease). Family members and individuals in close contact with infants under six months old should also be vaccinated against the flu – this creates a "cocoon" of protection.
Remember: Healthy individuals can become infected with the flu without experiencing symptoms. These people are known as “carriers” and can infect others with the virus unintentionally.
• Remind your friends and relatives to get vaccinated by sending an “e-card” from the CDC website.
West Nile Virus Content
Recently, the Madrona Marsh, a 10-acre preserve in Torrance that is popular with bird-watchers and recreational users, closed due to West Nile Virus activity. West Nile Virus (WNV) is spread through mosquitoes, which contract the virus by biting infected birds. Most cases cause mild or no symptoms in humans, but rare cases can lead to serious illness or death.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 53 confirmed human infections this year, including three deaths. Residents are urged to avoid outdoor activity in known mosquito habitat from dusk to dawn – times when when mosquitoes are most active -- to wear long sleeves and pants, and to apply insect repellent. Learn more at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/VectorWestNile.htm
Trusted Public Health Resources:
Comprehensive government-wide information on seasonal, H1N1 (swine), H5N1 (bird) and pandemic influenza for the general public, health and emergency preparedness professionals, policy makers, government and business leaders, school systems, and local communities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
California Department of Public Health
Los Angeles County Department of Public Heatlh
Tips to Stop Spreading the Flu:
- Get vaccinated
- Wash your hands regularly
- Sneeze and cough into the crook of your arm
- Avoid touching your eyes, face and nose
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- When you’re sick, stay at home and limit contact with others