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The Flu Peak is Approaching, City Health Officer Urges Flu Vaccination

Release Date: 2015-01-08

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is reporting an increase in flu activity in Long Beach, and urges residents to get their flu shot. It is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu!

 According to the most recent reports, influenza activity in Long Beach is beginning to show a steady increase with at least two intensive care unit admissions in persons under 65 years of age. There have been no deaths to date. “While it may seem late in the flu season, we have likely not reached the peak in the number of cases seen in Long Beach, as flu season can last into the spring. Therefore, we are still strongly recommending everyone to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, Long Beach City Health Officer.

 The Health Department still has flu vaccine available through its Immunization Clinic – appointments can be made by calling 562.570.4315. Adults with Medicare Part B or other insurance are urged to bring their Medicare/insurance card to their appointment. Parents should bring their children’s immunization records – some children will need two doses of the vaccine given one month apart depending on their immunization history.

 Additionally, the Health Department will be hosting two additional free flu shot clinics this season:

 • Wednesday, January 14, at the Long Beach Senior Center, 1150 East 4th St., 1:00 - 4:00 pm
• Thursday, January 15 at LBDHHS Main Facility, 2525 Grand Ave., 1:00 - 4:00 pm

 Free vaccinations will also be offered at the 27th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace & Unity Parade and Celebration on Saturday, January 17.

 Dr. Kushner also notes that in addition to getting vaccinated, it's important to practice good hand washing and other good health habits. People who are ill should take actions to stop the spread of germs such as:

• While sick, limit contact with others
• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based rub
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

 Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone six months of age or older, but is particularly important for those at higher risk of severe influenza, including pregnant women, children under five years of age, the elderly, and persons with certain underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, and heart disease. Vaccination of pregnant women also helps to protect infants too young to be vaccinated.

 This flu season is expected to be severe. Those at highest risk who show flu symptoms should contact their physician immediately in order to get the most effective treatment. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

 For more information about influenza, visit  www.longbeach.gov/health.