RIVERSIDE – A 22-year-old Hemet man and a 4-year-old Perris girl who died earlier this month both tested positive for influenza, though health authorities today were uncertain whether the virus killed them.
At least five flu-related deaths have been reported statewide among people under 65 years old, according to the California Department of Public Health. The two cases in Riverside County are awaiting confirmation.
According to county Interim Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the man tested positive for Influenza-A, while the girl tested positive for Influenza-B. Both patients had been hospitalized, he said.
The two strains are highly contagious and transmitted through coughing, sneezing or touching surfaces where the virus lives, according to health officials. Symptoms, including nausea, fatigue, vomiting and sore throat, generally show up inside of a week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, most people recover from the flu within two weeks. However, an estimated 36,000 people in the U.S. die each year from flu-related complications.
According to Kaiser, the county’s flu activity is within normal range for the season, but residents were urged to use precautions, with emphasis on getting vaccinated.
Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, a longtime pharmacist, this week offered to personally dispense flu shots at the homes of residents of his Third District who don’t have the ability to travel. Interested parties should contact the supervisor’s district office at (951) 698-7326.
According to county health officials, frequent and thorough handwashing is one of the best means to prevent catching the flu. Those who are infected should remember to cover their mouths and noses when expectorating.
Those who are ill with chills, coughing and fever should stay home to prevent spreading germs.
Recovering from the flu requires bed rest and plenty of fluids, health officials said, adding that anyone whose symptoms aren’t worsening instead of improving after a few days should see a doctor.