Scientists were worried this year that “flu season” was going to be especially rough and that’s proving to be true. And even though the flu shot doesn’t work particularly well this season either (it’s about 10% effective), health officials still want you to get it. But sadly, in the last two weeks eight Santa Barbara County residents have died from the flu and seven of them had their flu shot (all eight were 65 or older). Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.
Dr. Charity Dean, the public health “czar” for Santa Barbara County is extremely worried because she’s not seen numbers like these in the last decade; the number of patients who are testing positive for the flu at local hospitals and health clinics is off the charts, local emergency rooms are slammed, reportedly experiencing a threefold increase in number of patients reporting flu-like symptoms, and emergency room waiting times have gotten much longer as a result.
Initially, doctors wondered whether numbers in Santa Barbara were higher because of preexisting lung problems from the Thomas Fire but now that the rest of California seems to be getting hit just as hard that theory has been discarded.
This year’s strain of flu, H3N2, has been knocking people out- hard. But you don’t need a flu shot that’s only 10 percent effective and comes with a host of potential problems. Instead, you need to take care of your body (I’m not a doctor and not trying to tell you what to do) by getting sunlight or taking Vitamin D, drink plenty of water, manage your stress level, and eat plenty of whole foods.