WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

L.A. County reports first hospitalization from influenza this year

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced on Monday that the first hospitalization of this year's influenza has occurred.

The laboratory confirmed case of influenza was found to be H1N1, one of the strands that is covered in this year's vaccines. It is believed that this strain will be the most common ones this season.

"While occasional reports of cases and sometimes low levels of influenza can continue throughout the summer and early fall, these recent reports suggest a possible early start to the influenza season in our area," Jonathan E. Fielding, the director of Public Health, said. "However, we cannot predict how severe or how mild a flu season will be. We encourage everyone, six months of age or older, to get either the influenza shot or the nasal spray vaccine, and to practice basic hygiene, such as hand washing, to prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases."

Early flu vaccination is recommended, since it can take two weeks to develop a full immune response after a vaccination. A flu vaccination can last throughout the influenza season and into the spring. The CDC recommends that vaccination begin in September or as soon as a vaccine is available.

"The flu can affect each person differently," Fielding said. "Most individuals who get sick are able to treat themselves at home with over-the-counter medications, drinking plenty of fluids, resting and staying home from work or school. Others may develop complications such as pneumonia and may require hospitalization. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others."