Fifth flu death reported in county

Public health officials last week reported the flu-related death of another local resident, the fifth such death in Santa Clara County since the start of the influenza season in October.

The deceased was under the age of 65 and, like the four other county residents who have succumbed to the virus infection this season, had not been vaccinated, according to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Privacy laws prevent officials from divulging any additional details about the patients.

The Public Health Department recommends the flu vaccine for anyone older than 6 months – including pregnant women and women who may become pregnant.

“The influenza vaccination is the best way to protect your family from complications of influenza,” said George Han, M.D., assistant health officer, in a Public Health Department press release.

Han added that it is not too late to get vaccinated.

“Even if the vaccine does not prevent you from getting the flu, it will make it less likely for you to be seriously ill and require hospitalization,” he said.

There has been a marked increase in the number of patients diagnosed with the flu as the 2017-2018 flu season has progressed, according to the release. During the first week of December, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Emergency Department medical professionals diagnosed five patients with the flu. Between Jan. 1 and 7, they diagnosed 40 patients.

Health officials advised ill individuals to cover their coughs and sneezes, stay home from work or school until they are symptom-free for 24 hours, wash their hands frequently and avoid touching their eyes, mouth and nose.

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