Health officials say flu bug is nothing to sneeze at

The local flu clinic event was held inside the Veterans Memorial Building in November.

Dr. Alvaro Garza with the public health department pointed out that 2009 H1N1 outbreak occurred in April – two months after the typical peak for the flu season – in warning local residents to follow precautions in preventing its spread now.
The public health officer underscored how the flu season can last “several months long.” He also pointed out that H1N1 is predominant again this year – which is why it was contained in this season’s vaccine.
“The peak of the season is generally even into February,” Garza said. “We may or may not see more here in this county. But I’m just concerned because if our neighbors are getting it bad, we probably will as well.”
Garza spoke after the San Benito County Public Health Department issued a warning this week due to an increasing presence of the flu statewide, though the statement noted a lack of severe flu reports locally.
With that statewide monitoring signaling an increase in the number of cases, local officials alerted residents to take precautions. Statewide, there had been seven confirmed influenza deaths in people under age 65 with 28 more deaths under investigation as of early this week, according to the announcement. Influenza deaths in people over age 65 are not reportable in California.
Reportable data also exclude everyday cases of the flu that might not involve a trip to the Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital Emergency Room.
“We still haven’t seen a spike in anything,” said hospital spokeswoman Frankie Gallagher.
To help in the prevention cause, the public health department released a list of preventative measures such washing hands and coughing the right way – but also previously conducted a free flu vaccine clinic in November at the Veterans Memorial Building.
“Of course, it’s never too late to get your flu vaccination,” said Samela Perez, spokeswoman for the county’s public health department. “So seek out the vaccine.”

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