(Photo courtesy Shutterstock)

(Photo courtesy Shutterstock)

Health officials warn flu outbreak is widespread in Bay Area

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has announced that influenza levels are rising, and the Bay Area is the region most-hard hit by the sickness.

In Marin County, flu transmission began the week of Dec. 11 and significantly increased the week of Dec. 25, Marin County public health officials said.

A Napa County resident under 65 years old died Thursday from the flu, officials with the Napa County Public Health Division said Friday. The officials said they are investigating the death and are not releasing any more information to protect the individual’s privacy.

“This unfortunate case demonstrates that flu can be deadly,” Napa County Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio said.

In Napa County, public health officials are seeing a rapid increase in the percentage of patients seen in emergency departments with influenza like-illness, Relucio said.

California Department of Public Health officials said as of Dec. 30 there have been three flu deaths in the state. Throughout the Bay Area, public health officials are urging everyone over six months of age to get vaccinated. The officials have said this year’s vaccine is effective since it protects against the season’s most active strains.

Dr. Tomas Aragon, San Francisco Health Officer, recommends that all individuals six months of age and older be vaccinated against influenza. “Influenza vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you and your family from the flu,” said Aragon. “It’s not too late to get vaccinated.”

To find your closest place to get vaccinated, use HealthMap’s vaccine finder here.

Flu symptoms commonly include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Antibiotics are not effective against the flu, but medical providers may prescribe antiviral medications that reduce the severity and duration of illness.

In addition to vaccines, health officials are asking people to take the following precautions: cover coughing and sneezing with tissues to avoid spreading germs, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, wash your hands frequently, and stay home when sick, and for 24 hours after recovering.

Flu cases peak in December through February and may continue into May in the U.S., according to public health officials. More information on the flu can be found on the California Department of Public Health’s website.

Bay City News contributed reporting to this story.California Department of Public HealthfluHealthvaccinations

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