Deadly flu season not over yet

Deadly flu season not over yet

20 people have died in Kern County this year, and health officials say it's not too late to get vaccinated.
BAKERSFIELD, CA - Twenty people have now died from the flu in Kern County. Last year, there were only two deaths. Spring is on the way, but health officials say flu season may not be over yet.

"We don't know that," said Kern County Pubic Health Department's Dr. Claudia Jonah on whether the peak of the season is over this year.

"It looks like it's slowing down. We're not having as many hospitalizations, so we only know of the very severe cases."

This year's flu season has been the deadliest in years. Across the state, more than 250 people have died from the flu, many were under the age of 65.

Kern County health officials said the majority of the people who died in Kern County did not get vaccinated.

The flu always has the potential to be deadly. Respiratory problems from the flu can stress the lungs and heart. In Kern County, doctors say other organ failure contributed to many people being admitted to the intensive care units.

"We've also seen in this season many people, I believe, largely because they get so dehydrated by the time they get to the hospital," said Dr. Jonah. "Their kidneys were just on exhaustion and many people required dialysis support."

Health experts caution you can still catch the flu in spring and summer.

"Personally, if I haven't gotten the vaccine I would still recommend that people get the protection," said Dr. Jonah.

"Even with the weather warming up, it's still a possibility to be exposed to influenza."

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