BAKERSFIELD, Calif — There have been 24 flu related deaths in California this flu season, and health officials say there have been more flu cases so far than there usually is at this point in the season. The latest map from the state health department shows that every single county in the state have elevated flu activity right now.
"The flu is widespread at this point. And that's something to be taken seriously. We've had 24 deaths statewide so far," said Michelle Corson, Public Relations Officer for the Kern County Public Health Department.
Elevated levels of flu activity are expected during flu season, but Corson said this year's season is more aggressive than usual.
"They're saying that it's a little bit more than average of what we would typically be seeing this time of year. The one thing about the flu is it is unpredictable," she said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been 23,000 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths so far in the country. And even though there's been 24 deaths in California, Corson says Kern has not contributed to that number.
"Fortunately so far this year we have had no deaths reported to us that are associated with the flu yet in Kern County. We want to keep it that way," she said.
And keeping it that way means taking steps to keep you and those around you healthy. Including getting a flu shot, washing your hands regularly, and staying home when you or a child are sick. Elderly, the flu poses the biggest risk to the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and very young children.
Kern County Public Health offers flu shots for $9.