CDC: Signs indicate flu headed to California

(KGO)
January 11, 2013 5:46:53 PM PST
The CDC has released some frightening new statistics on the nationwide flu outbreak now widespread in 47 states. California is one of three states not yet hit hard by the flu, but there are signs that it is on the way. Doctors say it will be hard to avoid.

At Kaiser in Walnut Creek, they're running low on flu shot supply. It's a little late in the season to be getting the shot, but people across the Bay Area are still just now coming in for their fly shot vaccines. Tom Rodriguez had never had a flu shot before but on Friday, he got his first one after witnessing his 23-year-old son suffer with the virus.

"My son just got really sick. Sunday night he said, 'Dad, I'm deathly ill,'" he said. "He was sick for three days and I go you know what, I think it's time for me to start getting vaccinated, so it's my first time."

The pediatric drop-in flu shot clinic was reopened Friday after demand suddenly went up. Dr. Randy Bergen says people coming to Kaiser for a vaccine now have come just in the nick of time because supply is low. "Although we're looking desperately to try to find vaccine that's still available on the market, most of the fly vaccine has been purchased in this country," he said.

A CDC map shows that the flu outbreak is most severe in the eastern states, and how California, Mississippi, and Hawaii still have relatively fewer cases. At Fremont's Doctor's Express Urgent Care, Dr. Steve Zonner says the map does in fact reflect what he's seen in terms of flu cases. "I haven't seen the great uptick we're hearing about that's out on the East Coast, so we're getting ready to brace for that," he said.

Bergen says even if more people like Rodriguez are getting vaccinated and more people are heeding preventative advice like frequent hand-washing, it still might not be enough to avoid a larger outbreak in California. "I think it's unlikely that we will be spared, but I would throw out the caveat that it seems like numbers may be going down out east," he said.

Dr. Zonner offered a tip saying there's evidence that taking zinc supplements can be a good preventative measure. He said 50 milligrams a day has worked for him.


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