Los Angeles County saw its first flu death in the 2021-2022 season, public health officials said Wednesday.
According to the Los Angeles County Health Department, the middle-aged man suffered from a variety of underlying medical conditions and did not receive a flu shot. Throughout his illness, he was tested negative for COVID-19 several times.
“Although most people recover from the flu without complications, this death is a reminder that the flu can be serious illness,” the health ministry said.
Complications such as pneumonia can develop, and the flu can aggravate underlying illnesses such as heart disease and asthma, according to public health officials.
Every year, thousands of people across the country are hospitalized or die from flu-related illnesses, according to public health officials.
Health officials said it was difficult to predict how intense a particular flu season would be. The winter of 2019-20 saw a decrease in the circulation of respiratory viruses such as influenza, most likely due to camouflage, social distancing and other measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are preparing for the spread of influenza viruses in Los Angeles County this fall and winter,” public health officials said. “Flu activity rates in Los Angeles County are currently low, but they have been rising in recent weeks.”
The authorities are urging everyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot, which provides better protection, health officials said. Healthy people still need to get the vaccine to protect others in their community, especially the elderly, young, and people with weakened immune systems.
Children under 5, adults 65 and older, and pregnant women are at increased risk of complications from influenza, according to public health officials.
“People at increased risk of complications from the flu should seek medical attention as soon as they start to feel unwell, whether they have been vaccinated or not,” said public health officials.