There is a Severe Flu in California
The flu season in California this year has been severe and so many people have fallen sick with influenza that it has caused pharmacies to run out of flu medicines, emergency rooms have been packed, and the death toll has been rising higher than in previous years. Health officials announced last week that 27 people, who were younger than 65, have died of the flu in California since October. This is a pretty good increase compared with the three flu related deaths that occurred during the same time period last year. The flu season is typically worst around February, but can reach its height anytime from October to April. Dr. Randy Bergen, the clinical lead of the flu vaccine program for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, stated,
Rates of influenza are even exceeding last year, and last year was one of the worst flu seasons in the last decade.
One of the reasons for the increase in people getting the flu is that most of the people are catching a strain of influenza known as H3N2, which the flu vaccine typically doesn’t work as well against. National health officials believe that the vaccine might only be about 32 percent effective this year. Elderly people over the age of 65 are the most likely to succumb to the illness. CVS spokeswoman Amy Lanctot said increased demand for Tamiflu in California may have led to some stores being temporarily out of stock. However, doctors say Tamiflu doesn’t eliminate the flu, but it does lessen the severity of symptoms and how long they last.
Health officials say it’s not too late to get the flu shot, which is recommended for everyone older than 6 months. It is important that people wash their hands often and avoid close contact with anyone coughing or sneezing.