Twelve people hospitalized with influenza

Eight people are in ICU with respiratory problems associated with influenza infection.
KERN COUNTY, CA -- A dozen people were admitted to Bakersfield hospitals over the weekend with influenza. Eight of them are in intensive care.

"When we left the office on Friday we had received a report through the reporting system of three persons who had been hospitalized with the influenza," said Dr. Claudia Jonah with the Kern County Health Department.

"By Sunday we have a total of 12 hospitalized with influenza. More than half of those have been in intensive care unit and many of them had to be put on ventilators."

San Joaquin Community Hospital and Kern Medical Center said the cases are severe and patients are not showing typical flu symptoms.

"One of the stories was that the person was just having dizziness, but it turned out to be influenza and they're in the hospital," said Jonah.

The patients range in age from 30 to 68. One patient has the H1N1 Virus, but eight others have Influenza A, which has a vaccine.

Doreen Tracy received her first flu shot last month and is happy she got it when she did.

"I got the flu shot, because I'm an elderly person and everybody told me to go," said Tracy.

"It's free for me. I feel pretty good and I haven't got the flu since."

The Health Department is urging people to take precautions to avoid becoming infected or infecting others.

"This is a big concern," said Jonah.

"These persons that are getting severe infections, are getting severely ill very quickly."

Flu shots are available at most pharmacies or at the Health Department. Jonah has recommends people with cold or flu symptoms to take 1,000 to 2,000 miligrams of Vitamin C every hour.
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