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State records first flu-related death for the season
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The California Department of Public Health received the first report of an influenza-associated fatality in a person under the age of 65 for the 2017-2018 flu season on Thursday. The person had chronic conditions and the death occurred in Yolo County.

“As this unfortunate case illustrates, the flu can be deadly. People with chronic health conditions are among those at greatest risk for severe flu illness and complications such as heart attacks and pneumonia,” CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith said. “Vaccination is the best protection against flu, and is a critical part of caring for people with medical conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and asthma.”

The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency announced its first set of flu vaccine clinics beginning on Oct. 18 in Modesto and continuing through Dec. 5. 

The seasonal flu vaccine will be available for anyone six months of age and older. The flu shot will be offered for $25, which is to cover the cost of vaccine administration, however, no one will be turned away for the inability to pay this fee.

In addition to the clinics the SCHSA will offer flu vaccinations at their office at 820 Scenic Drive in Modesto. Flu vaccinations will be available on a walk-in basis from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays. Appointments can be made for the flu vaccination and are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

Each year in California, influenza is estimated to cause millions of illnesses, tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths, according to the CDPH.

To reduce this risk, the CDPH recommends the annual flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older. In addition to the groups mentioned above, other people at high risk of developing flu-related complications include pregnant women, children under 2 years of age, adults aged 65 and older and nursing home residents.

Prior to each flu season the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts research into which strains are the most likely to circulate among the population. For the 2017-18 flu season the vaccines are meant to protect against an updated H1N1, H3N2, and the B/Victoria lineage. 

Seasonal flu activity does have an element of unpredictability, however in the past flu season typically starts in October and continues through May, with peaks in December through March.

It takes about two weeks for the body’s immune system to fully respond to the flu vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 101 influenza-associated deaths in children for the 2016-2017 flu season. Flu deaths in adults is not reported nationally.

Common symptoms of the flu include fever or feeling feverish, a cough and/or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, chills, fatigue and body aches. Children may also have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

To stop the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses, you should also:

Stay home when sick Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or a sleeve and properly dispose of used tissue Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity is usually highest between December and February. CDPH encourages people to contact their health care providers, clinics or pharmacies about obtaining the flu vaccine.