The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency announced on Friday that, according to local physicians, cases of the flu are "on the rise" locally.
On a state level, the flu is being called "widespread," which means that at least half of the regions in the state have confirmed cases of influenza. This is not something to be taken likely, Health Services said.
"Influenza is much more serious than the common cold and has the potential of causing serious illness or death," the department said in a news release.
To combat influenza in Santa Cruz County, the agency is staying in contact with local doctors to track the number of cases and offering walk-in flu shots at 1080 Emeline in Santa Cruz and 9 Crestview Dr. in Watsonville between 1:30 and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
They also sent out the following reccomendations for staying healthy:
- Everyone over the age of 6 months of age is encouraged to get the flu vaccine.
- Vaccination of high-risk people is especially important to decrease the risk of severe flu illness.
- People at high risk include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease and people 65 years of age and older.
- Everyday preventive actions such as frequent hand washing, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze and avoiding contact with sick people will reduce your chances of becoming ill with the flu.
- Most people who get the flu have mild illness and do not require medical attention or anti-virals. If you get the flu, your doctor may prescribe anti-viral drugs, which can make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
- Complications from the flu can occur and require immediate medical attention. If any of the following symptoms occur in a child, seek immediate medical care: fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or interacting, being so irritable the child does not want to be held, fever with a rash, not wanting to eat, no tears when crying and significantly fewer wet diapers.
- Adults should seek immediate medical attention if the following symptoms occur: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.