Influenza activity remains elevated in Orange County and severe cases (persons hospitalized in the intensive care unit or deaths less than 65 years of age) continue to be reported. The vast majority of reported cases have been influenza A and most of those have been due to the strain called pH1N1, the same strain that has been circulating since the 2009 pandemic. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert discussing reports from several states of severe illness in young and middle-aged adults due to pH1N1 virus. For the latest information on influenza activity in Orange County, see the Eye on Influenza newsletter at http://ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/dcepi/epi/flu/eye.
Getting vaccinated is the first and most important step in protecting against influenza, and anyone who has not already received flu vaccination should get it now. Flu vaccine is available from health care providers, clinics, and pharmacies throughout Orange County. The Health Care Agency is offering free seasonal influenza vaccinations on a walk-in basis for people six months of age and older who do not have a medical provider or health insurance coverage. Vaccinations are available every Thursday beginning November 7, 2013 from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00-4:00 p.m. at 1725 West 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Vaccine is recommended every year for people six months of age and older, and is especially important for infants, young children, pregnant women, adults over 50, and for those with chronic medical conditions. Close contacts and caregivers of these high-risk people should also get vaccinated. The most current local information, including vaccination locations, is available 24/7 at http://ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/family/flu or by calling the Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
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