Public health officials confirmed Wednesday the first two flu-related deaths of the 2015-16 flu season in Los Angeles County, noting that both patients had "significant" pre-existing medical conditions.
One patient was a southeast Los Angeles man in his 40s, and the other was a woman in her 90s from northwest Los Angeles. Both died during "the final days of 2015," according to the county Department of Public Health.
"Even though influenza activity in California and much of the country is still at low levels, these deaths are a reminder that flu is circulating and potentially can cause serious illness,'' according to Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the county's interim health officer.
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"We anticipate that influenza infections will increase as the winter season progresses, so getting vaccinated now will provide the best protection. In addition to the flu shot, practice basic hygiene, such as hand-washing, to prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases," he said.
The county public health website includes information on locations where people can go to get flu vaccinations, along with a list of community clinics that offer free or no-cost shots.