5 more flu deaths in Bay Area and Santa Cruz


The flu this year is hitting otherwise healthy and relatively young people.

Regional Medical Center in San Jose has been treating patients -- 126 so far -- since last Wednesday in tents in its parking lot. But the goal of health officials is to prevent people from even having to come to the hospital.

The health staff at Santa Clara University has been encouraging students to get a flu shot since early Fall. With students living and attending classes in tight quarters, once flu gets a foothold on campus, it can spread fast.

"It's recommended when you're ill to avoid work and school so that you don't expose others," Cowell Health Center nurse Peggie Robinson said. "That's very hard for students to factor in because they're stressed out if they miss their classes. What's the impact on their academic progress going to be?"

So another email blast has gone out to encourage students to get vaccinated. The message is also being directed at local pharmacies as well. Kaiser Permanente Monday received 20,000 new doses with 40,000 more expected in a few days.

Dispensers with hand sanitizer are spread throughout Mineta San Jose International Airport as passengers travel between zones of high flu cases in other states. Most travelers told us they've had the flu shot, so they're not too worried.

"I usually try to wash my hands very often and that's it," traveler Fernando Rodriguez said. "There's nothing else you can do. I'm not over concerned about the passengers sitting next to me."

Yet others wipe down their seats on the plane.

"I carry baby wipes with me and Clorox wipes as well," passenger Jody Salsberry said.

Kristina Homan flew recently with her 15-month-old daughter, and she was very conscious of exposing her to flu.

"You'd be surprised how many people are coughing on there, especially when you're bringing on a baby," she said. "Something you definitely worry about."

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