The death of a San Fernando Valley woman was confirmed today as Los Angeles County's first fatality from influenza this season.
The woman contracted type B influenza and had underlying health conditions, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The date and exact location of her death were not released.
Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's public health officer, said the woman's death should be a reminder for residents older than six months to get vaccinated.
"We cannot predict how severe or how mild this flu season will be but the earlier you get your seasonal flu vaccine -- either through the influenza shot or nasal spray -- the sooner you will be protected from the flu," Fielding said. "The nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in healthy people ages 2 through 29 who are not pregnant. Practice basic hygiene, too, such as hand-washing, to prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases."
Although all residents older than six months are urged to get vaccinated, Fielding said it was particularly important for some groups of people, including:
- pregnant women;
- children under 5;
- adults 50 and older;
- anyone with chronic medical conditions;
- people who live or work in nursing homes or long-term care facilities;
- health care workers; and
- day care employees.