Flue shot clinics are available at OC Health Care Agency’s Santa Ana clinic. (Shutterstock)
CYPRESS, CA — The Orange County Health Care Agency announced the first confirmed case of influenza A on Tuesday, signaling that flu season is underway.
The Cypress man’s illness prompted officials to remind residents to get a flu shot, which are recommended for everyone 6 months of age or older. The flu victim’s name, age, and any health conditions he may have suffered in addition to the flu were withheld.
"It’s especially important that infants, young children, pregnant women, adults older than 50 and anyone with chronic medical conditions get vaccinated," Orange County health officials said.
Most insurance plans and many businesses provide for flu shots at no cost.
Seasonal influenza usually occurs between October and May. Though the virus changes easily, "there is usually enough similarity in the virus from one year to the next that the general population is partially immune from previous infection or vaccination," OC Health reported.
People who contract the Flu are contagious 1-2 days before symptoms, and 4-5 days after the onset. Young children may remain infectious for 10 days or longer, they said.
How do you know if you have the flu?
Signs and symptoms include:
Sudden fever higher than 100.4°F (38°C)ChillsMuscle aches or painHeadacheFeeling of weakness, tiredness and/or exhaustionCough or sore throatRunny or stuffy noseSigns of dehydration such as decreased urine, dry mouth & eyes, dizziness, etc.Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain (more common in children)
"If you are sick, stay home," an OC Health spokesperson said. "This is especially important for children, who more easily spread the flu."
Remember that the flu virus is spread by being near someone who is sick, coughing, and touching surfaces that an infected person may have sneezed or coughed upon.
Things You Can Do To Keep From Catching The Flu:
Cover your cough and sneezeUse a tissue or your upper sleeve when you sneeze.Dispose of tissues immediately and wash your hands.Practice good hand hygiene (wash with soap and water, or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer).Wear a mask if you are ill and must go into public spaces.
In addition to getting the flu shot, remember to "always cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing," the OC Health agency said.
Where to get a flu shot:
Anyone without insurance may get a flu shot at one of the OC Health Care Agency’s clinic from 8 to 11:30 a.m and 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at 1725 W. 17th St. in Santa Ana.
Call 800-564-8448 for more information on availability of flu shots.