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Influenza claims two lives in Long Beach

There have been two influenza related deaths in the 2018-19 flu season, according a press release from the city of Long Beach Monday. The individuals both had underlying health conditions, but the City’s Health and Human Services Department continues to urge the public to get vaccinated.

While the flu vaccine is developed to cover a wide range of mutations, it is possible to still get the flu even after being vaccinated. According to the CDC website, “Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.”

“These deaths are a tragic reminder that flu can cause serious illness,” Long Beach City Health Officer Anissa Davis said in a press release. “It’s not too late in the season to get the flu shot. Getting vaccinated is the safest and most effective way to prevent flu.”

The rise of the “anti-vax” movement has led to an increased prominence of measles in the U.S. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 372 reported cases of measles in 2018 and during the first two months of 2019, there have been over 100 reported cases.

“We have vaccines that we have determined are safe and effective to prevent these diseases that were almost completely eradicated in our country,” said Heidi Girling, coordinator for the CSU Long Beach Health Resource Center. “And now we are starting to see a resurgence of these diseases that do not need to be causing these problems and there is no proof that vaccines will cause autism.”

Girling stressed the importance of something as simple as the flu vaccine. She said that although the flu itself isn’t particularly deadly, it can cause other issues when somebody has underlying health conditions. For example, someone with asthma who contracts the flu could worsen to a point where that person could develop pneumonia.

Student Health Services will be offering free flu shots Monday on lower campus by The Outpost from noon to 2 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 25 by Hillside Dining from noon to 2 p.m.

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