Flu Season Off To Early Start

Influenza has arrived in San Luis Obispo County, with at least 10 cases identified in County residents over the past few weeks.  The Public Health Laboratory has so far identified six cases of H3 influenza, 1 case of H1 influenza, and three cases of B influenza.  None of the patients tested were inpatients at local hospitals.  The Public Health Lab had been offering free testing to local providers for surveillance purposes, but with the declaration of the start of the flu season in the County, the Lab will now only be offering fee-for-service testing.

In light of the recent announcement by the CDC that flu season is starting earlier than usual this year, the Public Health Department would like to encourage residents to protect themselves from flu. Dr. Penny Borenstein, Health Officer for San Luis Obispo County, urges residents to get vaccinated if they have not already. “It is not too late to get vaccinated, and the vaccine this year is a strong match to circulating strains, offering the maximum available protection from flu,” stated Dr. Borenstein, “The Public Health Department still has flu vaccine available, and we encourage all eligible residents to get vaccinated.”

Symptoms of influenza can include fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and coughing.

Although most people will recover from flu within 3-7 days, persons at risk from complications, which includes the very young, the very old, and persons with underlying medical conditions, can experience more severe illness. Complications can include pneumonia, as well as worsening of heart and lung disease.

Every person above the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccination each year to protect themselves and their families against the flu. Persons who feel ill should stay home, get plenty of rest and fluids, and consult with their primary care provider if they are not feeling better after3-7 days.