SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego County health authorities reported Wednesday that, for the first time this "flu season,'' someone under the age of 65 died of influenza-related causes and did not have a pre-existing medical condition.
The 63-year-old man, who died Jan. 25, contracted the H1N1 strain of the virus, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
The HHSA said the man did not get a flu shot, which protects against H1N1 strains.
"This death is an unfortunate reminder that the flu can be deadly for people of any age, not just those over 65 years,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "The H1N1 virus can be very severe for
younger, healthy people, especially those who have not been vaccinated. Get your flu shot now.''
Despite the death, this flu season is far milder than last year.
At this point in 2015, 38 people had died and more than 4,000 cases of the illness were reported. The totals this year so far are five deaths and 925 cases, according to HHSA data.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots annually for everyone at least 6 months old. Vaccination is more important for people with weakened immune systems, as well as those who are pregnant, elderly or live with or care for others at high risk.
Other suggestions for staying healthy include frequent hand-washing, using hand sanitizers, staying away from sick people, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.
Flu vaccines are available at doctors offices and pharmacies. Those without medical insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. A list of locations is available at www.sdiz.org or by calling 211.