County officials announce first flu death of the season

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Los Angeles County public health officials Thursday confirmed the county’s first flu death of the 2018-19 flu season.

According to health officials, the patient was a senior with pre-existing health conditions. Such conditions can lead to weakened immune systems, making patients particularly vulnerable, according to county health officer Dr. Muntu Davis.

“I would like to remind everyone that even if you’re healthy, you can still get seriously sick from the flu and spread the illness to others,” Davis said in a statement. “Immunization is the best method to protect yourself and reduce the likelihood of spreading flu to others in your community.”

Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend flu immunization for everyone greater than 6 months old. According to the county, there were 278 flu deaths in Los Angeles County during the 2017-18 flu season, the highest number since record-keeping began in 2010.

Some people are at higher risk for serious illness or death from the flu, including children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, pregnant women, people with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic lung or heart disease, diabetes or who are overweight.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Pneumonia is the most common complication of the flu.

County officials also recommended practicing good hygiene to prevent infection. Angelenos should wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, not touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, and stay home when sick.

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