Editor's Note: Use the above map to type in Hermosa Beach’s zip code and find flu vaccination locations in the area.
Southern Californians are reminded to get their flu shots as strains of the virus have returned to the local area this year. Los Angeles County health officials confirmed in a statement Tuesday that three people from the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles regions have been infected with Influenza A H3N2 and one person with H1N1—out of those sick, one was a child.
Everyone now has recovered, but the statement pointed out that all of the strains, along with an Influenza B strain, are covered by this year’s flu vaccine.
"These confirmed cases mark the beginning of a flu season that can stretch from now until May of next year," said Los Angeles County Director of Public Health and Health Officer Jonathan Fielding. "We cannot predict how severe or how mild a flu season will be. Flu is a serious illness and should be treated as such."
The Centers for Disease Control reports that the flu causes nearly 200,000 hospitalizations and about 24,000 deaths nationwide each year.
Flu symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat and fatigue. People 65 years and older and young children are at higher risk of suffering flu-related health complications.
"The flu can affect each person differently. Most individuals who get sick are able to treat themselves at home with over-the-counter medications, drinking plenty of fluids, resting and staying home from work or school. Others may develop complications such as pneumonia and may require hospitalization," Fielding said. "Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others."
The Beach Cities Health District has listed these tips on its website to help your body boost immunity:
- Get plenty of vitamin C. Oranges and lemons are a great source.
- Drink decaffeinated tea with lemons. Your immune system works best at an intermediate pH and, despite its acidic nature, lemons increase the alkali balance after ingested.
- Sleep eight hours each night. Sleep has been linked to balanced hormone levels, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system.
- Avoid excess alcohol. Your liver makes proteins, including cytokines and immunoglobulins, which form the cascade that fights infections.
- Decrease the carbs in your diet and eat more proteins. Diets high in carbs increase your blood sugar, which stresses your immune system (and bacteria and viruses love sugar). Protein is a building block for your immune system.
- Stay hydrated and drink lots of water. Your kidneys remove lots of waste and toxins from your body, so keep them pumping. Also, most headaches when you are sick are caused by dehydration.
- If you can, stop drinking coffee. Caffeine can overdrive excretion and cause excess dumping of essential minerals and vitamins. If you can't stop, drink two extra glasses of water for every cup of coffee and take a multi-vitamin.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to build up your anti-oxidants. Blueberries and broccoli are great sources.
- Physical activity strengthens your immune system, decreases stress and improves circulation—all the things you need to fight off infection. Also, it is better to be outside than inside in enclosed spaces with dirty recycled air.
- Take care of yourself by getting a massage. New research demonstrates the benefits of massage
- Find a way to reduce stress in your life. Spend time with your friends and family, and remember that optimal health includes social, spiritual and emotional wellness.
— Tips come from the Beach Cities Health District.