Flu upgraded to widespread in California


The good news is that no children have died from the flu outbreak. And, this year's vaccine is a great match for the strain they're seeing -- so it offers good protection against getting sick.

Nationwide, the flu is now widespread in nearly all states except Tennessee and Hawaii.

A flu clinic at Washington Hospital in Fremont only lasted two hours, but by the time it ended at 9 a.m., 102 people got their flu vaccination. In comparison, Thursday's two clinics brought in 100 people throughout the entire day. Medical professionals say Friday morning's big turnout is a sign that this year's flu is expected to be the worst California has seen in years.

Teresa Cox is usually punctual when it comes to getting her annual flu vaccine, but this year she's been putting it off.

"This year I've just been so busy, and when I saw your talk on TV today at 7 a.m., I just said, 'You know what? I need to go in and get my flu shot.' This is one preventive illness that we can do for our community, so we better have our health so we can do good things in our community,"she said.

Recipients of this year's vaccine are 60 percent less likely to have to go to the doctor for influenza, according to early data from the Centers for Disease Control. This year's flu season is earlier than normal and the dominant flu strain is one that tends to make people more sick. Doctors are reminding their patients who are parents -- not to forget about themselves. It takes a few seconds, it takes two weeks to become fully immune, and it lasts a year.

"This really seems to be a hard flu year in terms of people getting really sick from the flu. We've seen it hit in other parts of the country, and now we've seen it come into California. We want to make sure that our community is prepared and that they get their flu shot," said Ruth Traylor of Washington Hospital.

Washington Hospital will hold more clinics next week. Vaccinations are $10 per person.

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