Flu season is nearly upon us, so it's time to think about a little preventative medicine.
To that end, the Beach Cities Health District has updated its online FluWatch. The site contains the latest vaccine recommendations, a list of free or low-cost flu shots in the Beach Cities and other important information you should know about this year's flu season.
This year, the predominant flu strain is Influenza A (H3N2), which generally produces higher numbers of serious illnesses, according to the health district.
This season's vaccine is designed to guard against three flu viruses that are expected to be prevalent this year, including H3N2 and the infamous H1N1.
"The most important step in protecting against the flu is to be vaccinated each year," said Dr. Lisa Santora, the health district's chief medical officer.
Preventive measures recommended by the organization include vaccinations, regularly washing hands, plenty of vitamin C and at least eight hours of sleep every night.
According to the health district, more than 200,000 hospitalizations and 23,607 deaths are associated with influenza nationwide each flu season.
Adults 65 and older account for the majority of flu-related deaths, and those 85 and older have the highest rates of seasonal influenza-associated hospitalization.
On the other end of the age spectrum, children younger than 5 are also at a higher risk, experiencing hospitalization rates comparable to people 50 to 64 years of age.