Flu touches down

First influenza-related death of season prompts warning from state health officials

The California Department of Public Health's announcement of the first flu-related death of someone under 65 years old in the state this season comes with reminders to get vaccinated and take simple precautions to avoid spreading the illness. The deceased was a resident of Santa Clara County; last year, influenza was associated with the deaths of 78 people under 65 throughout the state, though the CDPH notes that many influenza deaths go unreported. And before flu season ramps up in earnest this season—it typically peaks between December and April—Dr. Karen Smith, the state's public health officer, recommends all Californians older than 6 months get vaccinated. “I'm troubled when the flu turns into loss of life,” she said in a statement. “It doesn't have to. That's why I urge you to get your flu shot.” The CDPH also recommends:

• staying at home while sick

• covering a cough or sneeze with a tissue, and properly disposing of the tissue

• washing your hands thoroughly or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

• avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth