Flu season starts with warning from doctors to get vaccine early

2017-18 season set records in San Diego
Posted at 7:44 AM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 11:02:50-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV): After a record flu season in 2017-18, doctors across San Diego are warning people to get their flu vaccine early this year.

"The one thing we can consistently say about influenza is that it's inconsistent," says Dr. Wilma Wooten, the head of the County Department of Health and Human Services.

Last year, San Diego saw 20,833 cases of the flu, a record for the county. There were also 342 flu-related deaths, the most ever in a single season.

While there's no way to tell what this year will be like, medical professionals want everyone to be prepared.

"These viruses are so smart," says Nurse Practitioner Becky Carroll, who works at the CVS Minute Clinic in El Cajon. "They keep replicating and getting worse and worse."

This year's flu vaccine protects against four strains of the virus. That includes H3N2, the strain that hit last year. It also protects against  H1N1, which caused the Swine Flu epidemic in 2009.

"Word is getting out," says Carroll, who vaccinated 18 people in one day last week. "People are concerned with how bad the flu season was last year, and they're definitely coming in early this year to have the vaccine."

Doctors say everyone should get the flu shot. But the most vulnerable groups are people who are very young, very old, pregnant women and anyone with a chronic health condition.

To find a place where you can get a vaccine, click HERE.