H-SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Dec 4, 2012 8:26 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Local health officials say this year's flu season has yet to start on the Central Coast

The flu season has started early in some parts of the country, but it hasn't quite hit the Central Coast.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is widespread in Alaska, Mississippi, New York and South Carolina.

California has seen sporadic activity. As of November 24, California has had 37 confirmed cases of the flu and zero deaths.

KSBY's Nikki Ibarra spoke to a local health official about the winter epidemic.

Health officials in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties said the flu season on the Central Coast will begin around the first of the year.

"The flu can make you feel very, very bad for two to three weeks even if you're really a strong person," said Peter Hasler, medical director for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

Hasler said the flu vaccine is the only thing that can prevent the flu. "That or locking yourself up in a cave for the next three months. You know, know if you're going to be around people, you're vulnerable, and so the flu shot is the best prevention," added Hasler.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people over the afe of 6 months to get the flu shot.

There are different vaccinations including, a flu shot or the nasal-spray flu shot. "If it can save you and allow you not to miss a week or two of work, a week or two of school, a week or two of enjoying your life, it's worth it," said Hasler.

The strains, or types of flu, making people sick are Influenza A and Influenza B. "A is typically the ones that people think of as causing the most severe illness but B can be quite severe," said Hasler.

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