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Flu Season

October 25, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
Health officials have confirmed Los Angeles County's first death of the 2013-2014 influenza season. The victim, a woman who lived in the San Fernando Valley, was infected with an influenza B strain, the Department of Public Health reported Friday. The woman also had underlying medical conditions, which would have placed her at higher risk of death from the virus. The county reported its first hospitalization from the flu in late July, and there were sporadic cases of types A and B influenza during August and September.  Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's health officer, urged Angelenos six months and older to get their flu vaccinations now, via injection or nasal spray.
October 17, 2013 | By Henry I. Miller
The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19 killed 583,135 Americans, according to public health authorities at the time. Although we no longer suffer such a high rate of flu deaths, during a non-pandemic season, flu still kills on average thousands each year in this country. From the 1976-77 season to the 2006-07 season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccination is the key to prevention.
September 27, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
More than half of all kids in the United States were vaccinated against influenza during the 2012-13 flu season, along with more than four in 10 adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, 45% of Americans over the age of 6 months got some sort of flu vaccine. “Last season, more people were vaccinated against influenza in the United States than in previous seasons,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, told a gathering sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
April 3, 2013 | By Tony Perry
San Diego County has had more influenza-related deaths this flu season than in any other on record, the county Health and Human Services reported Wednesday. Sixty people in the county have died of complications related to the flu, surpassing the total of 58 during the 2009-10 pandemic, health officials said. Of the 60, all but one had underlying medical conditions. The elderly were the most vulnerable; the oldest victim was 99. Although flu season, considered to be from October to early April, occurs annually, this year's strain, influenza A H3N2, is considered one of the most severe on record, officials said.
February 1, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
This season's outbreak of flu continues to be high -- especially among the elderly and the young -- but appears to be waning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. Flu-like illnesses appeared to be falling in the East but rising in the Western states. Forty-five children have died, the CDC reported . This year's flu season began earlier and appeared harsher than in past years. For the week ending Jan. 26, the CDC said, 42 states reported widespread geographic influenza activity while seven reported regional activity.
January 22, 2013
Re "Flu's sticking point," Jan. 19 I read your article with great interest, looking forward to my fellow nurses explaining how important it is for people - healthcare workers in particular - to get their yearly flu shot. Instead, I learned that the very people responsible for educating their patients were themselves believers of false science. One nurse who tells postpartum mothers to get the flu shot for their newborns and themselves refused to get vaccinated herself. It surely wouldn't encourage me to vaccinate.
January 21, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
My mother was cleaning out some drawers and found a family letter written from “somewhere in France ” in 1918. Addressed “Dear Folks,” Russell C. Jones, a farm boy from Nebraska, writes home. The war is over, he guesses, as the Armistice has just been signed. “I hope I get home in time to help with the spring work,” he writes, “but a fellow can't tell when he will get back.” True today, too, sadly. I'm struck by his lovely, careful handwriting. It's brown ink, or has it faded?
January 21, 2013 | By Betty Hallock
Boozy ice cream for when you have the flu? Ohio-based small-batch ice cream maker Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams is making the news this flu season with one of its most popular winter flavors -- Influenza Sorbet, made with honey, ginger, orange and lemon juices, Maker's Mark bourbon and cayenne pepper.  Influenza Sorbet is no flu cure, but owner Jeni Britton Bauer told ABC News that the ice cream flavor inspired by a drink her grandmother made...
January 21, 2013 | By Alana Semuels
 Among the long list of reasons the fearful give for reasons they're not getting a flu shot (hatred of needles, skepticism about vaccines, laziness), there's one that relates more closely to economics: cost. For while doctors urge everyone to get a flu shot, flu shots, like many other things in life, are not free. Stop by your local CVS or Walgreens and you'll shell out $30 or so for the pleasure of getting poked by a needle behind a suggestion of a curtain. So why aren't flu shots free, or nearly free?
January 18, 2013 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
As a nurse at a Downey hospital, Darlene Andres spends her days caring for postpartum mothers and their newborn babies. Andres urges new moms to get the flu vaccine before leaving. But Andres, 36, decided not to get the flu shot herself. Andres - a self-proclaimed "germ freak" - said she just washes her hands instead. "I heard from a lot of co-workers on the floors that they were getting a lot of symptoms after getting the flu vaccine," she said. "I kind of got scared. " On Friday, public health officials warned that the flu wreaking havoc elsewhere has finally arrived in California and is now causing widespread hospitalizations across the state.
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