The nurse depicted in this 2006 photograph, was in the process of administering an intramuscular vaccination in the left shoulder muscle of a young girl. Photo by James Gathany, courtesy CDC/ Judy Schmidt.
The nurse depicted in this 2006 photograph, was in the process of administering an intramuscular vaccination in the left shoulder muscle of a young girl. Photo by James Gathany, courtesy CDC/ Judy Schmidt.

Orange County has recorded its first flu-related death of the season, officials said Thursday.

A man in his 50s who lived in Laguna Woods died of flu-related complications last week, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

“This is a sad and somber reminder of the serious threat posed by influenza,” said Dr. Eric Handler, the county’s health officer, said. “It is important for everyone to continue practicing good respiratory and hand hygiene and to get vaccinated.”

It has been one of the worst flu seasons in recent years, officials say.

So far this season, there have been 1,389 flu cases reported.

As of Jan. 18, there had been 931 cases of flu reported in the region this season, which was up from 281 in the same time frame for the 2015-16 flu season, according to Dr. Matthew Zahn of the Orange County Health Care Agency.

In the 2014-15 flu season, which was another difficult one, there were 922 cases reported as of the second week of January, according to Zahn. That was an uptick from 440 during the same time frame in the 2013-14 season and 230 in the 2012-13 season.

Some flu seasons start earlier than others, as has been the case in the current one, according to the HCA’s Jessica Good. That accounts for the increase compared with last year, she said.

Even though the flu season is in full swing, it’s not too late to get a shot, Good said, noting that nine adults aged 18 to 64 and two children have experienced severe infections from the flu that required treatment in an intensive care unit.

Flu symptoms typically include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue.

Vaccinations remain the best way to prevent catching flu, the experts said. The shots are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and up. Every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the agency provides vaccinations at 1725 W. 17th St., Santa Ana.

–City News Service 

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