Flu-related deaths this season reach 142 in San Diego County

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The number of flu-related deaths this season in San Diego County has reached a record high of 142, county health officials said. (KABC)

The number of flu-related deaths this season in San Diego County has reached a record high of 142, county health officials said.

That's compared to 14 deaths at the same time last year in San Diego County.

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This has been the most deadly flu season since the county began collecting records two decades ago, health officials said. The previous deadliest flu season was in 2014-2015, when 97 people died.

Across the country, there are numerous reports of healthy people suddenly dying from complications.

One doctor says this underscores the importance of vaccinations.

MORE: What you need to know about this year's flu season

"There is medication that can be given that can help, but it really needs to be given within the first 48 hours of symptoms," said Dr. Leanard Pollack with the Henry Ford Health System.

This flu season could linger for another 13 weeks.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the San Diego County's public health officer, said the record number of deaths could be due to the use of an electronic reporting system, which makes it easier for medical professionals to report and identify flu-related deaths.

MORE: Surge in flu cases keeping SoCal hospitals busy

Wooten also emphasized that it's not too late to get vaccinated.

"The flu vaccine is the best public health tool we have, and an annual flu shot is recommended to everyone over six months," Wooten said. "The vaccine helps your body develop protection in two weeks and can lessen severity if one gets the flu. The vaccine is matched with all four circulating strains."

Vaccines are available at doctors' offices and retail pharmacies.

City News Service contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
healthfluflu preventionflu seasondoctorsvaccinesillnessSan Diego CountySouthern California
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