The California Department of Public Health on Monday announced that influenza activity is in the rise throughout the state, and health officials are encouraging you to get vaccinated.
"It is important to get vaccinated now if you have not done so already," said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. "I encourage everyone six months of age and older to be vaccinated to help protect themselves and others from the dangers of flu."
Flu activity has reportedly been documented throughout every region of the state. The number of cases reported is above expected levels for this time of year.
"Flu activity usually reaches its peak in the months of January and February, but the virus typically continues to spread through the spring," said Dr. Smith. "With most of the flu season still to come, it’s not too late to get vaccinated."
Health officials warn that each year, the flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands or sometimes tens of thousands of deaths in the United States.
Common symptoms of the flu include fever or feeling feverish, a cough and/or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, chills, fatigue and body aches. Children sometimes also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
To prevent the spread of the flu virus, CDPH recommends that you stay home when sick; cover a cough or sneeze with an elbow or tissue, then you should throw the tissue in the trash; wash your hands thoroughly with and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
It is recommended that you contact your doctor or other health care provider, pharmacy or a clinic about getting the flu vaccine, according to CDPH. In some areas local health departments might offer low-cost or even no-cost flu shots. To find a vaccine location near you, visit HealthMap Vaccine Finder.