3 more flu deaths in El Paso

CNN
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Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 12:33am

The H1N1 flu strain is making a nasty comeback, and has claimed the lives of 4 El Pasoans in less than two weeks.

Two of the latest victims are middle-aged El Pasoans, a man and a woman, with underlying health conditions, and the fourth is a young man with no known previous health problems.

"It's the same virus that appeared in 2009 in a pandemic worldwide," said Fernando Gonzalez, the Lead Epidemiologist at the City of El Paso Department of Public Health.

But health officials say medicine has since caught up with the virus and getting the flu shot can greatly lower your chances of getting sick. Children as young as 6 months of age can get a flu shot.

"My little cousin has the flu right now so we're probably all going to get the flu shot eventually," said Alex Acosta.

"I don't believe in it... A lot of people heard that people get reaction when they get a flu shot and hardly I don't get the flu every year," said Maribelle Castillo.

"Serious scientific studies demonstrate that the flu vaccine is around 60% effective," said Gonzalez.

Health officials say being sick with something like cancer or diabetes, that weakens the immune system, can make a person more vulnerable to the flu.

"Being healthy or apparently healthy, doesn't mean that you have a good immune system," said Gonzalez.

High levels of stress and a poor diet can make you an easy target for the flu, as well.

"Well it doesn't make me nervous because at least I would get a few days off of work," said Gustavo Aguirre.

Officials say staying home from school or work is a good idea when you're sick so you don't spread the germs.

Also, wash your hands often, cover your mouth when you cough, and call your doctor right away if you have a fever of more than 100 degrees.

For more information on where you can get a flu shot visit:

http://www.ktsm.com/news/free-flu-clinics-el-paso-and-las-cruces

http://www.ktsm.com/news/agencies-offer-free-flu-shots-children

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