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2 Elderly Women Are First Flu Deaths in San Diego This Season

The first two deaths from the flu this season in San Diego County are both women in their 80s.

2 Elderly Women Are First Flu Deaths in San Diego This Season
San Diego County officials said the two victims were living in a local nursing home and had underlying health problems.

County officials said the two victims were living in a local nursing home and had underlying health problems.

Such deaths are not unusual. On average, about 90 percent of flu deaths occur in people 65 and older.

So far this season, 919 San Diegans have become sick with the flu. That’s compared with 535 at the same time last year.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health officer, said it’s difficult to characterize the severity of the flu season until it’s over.

“But we know we are heading into the thick of the flu season," Wooten said. "The peak occurs usually at the end of January, first two weeks of February."

Last season, San Diego County saw more than 4,000 cases of the flu and 70 flu-related deaths.

Wooten said it's not too late for people to get a flu shot and that there's an ample supply in the region.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots annually for everyone who is at least 6 months old.

Vaccination is more important for people with weakened immune systems, as well as those who are pregnant, elderly or live with or care for others at a high risk.

Other suggestions for staying healthy include washing hands often, using hand sanitizers, staying away from sick people, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth; cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

Flu vaccines are available at doctors offices and pharmacies. Those without medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. A list of locations is available at www.sdiz.org or by calling 211.

Corrected:
City News Service contributed to this report.