Flu activity increasing in Northern California

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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According to U.S. HealthWorks, the Sacramento area was hit the hardest with 10 deaths from the flu last year, which are the most fatalities in one specific city in California.

While there have been 95 confirmed deaths in California, the majority are spread around Southern California.

“It is a serious problem,” said Dr. A.K. Misra, medical director at U.S. HealthWorks. “The worst thing is that it’s completely preventable. It’s awful.”

Misra said there are a couple reasons why fatalities have risen in the last few years.

“Along with nature, as a medical industry, we have not done a good enough job educating our patients about getting vaccinations,” he said. “Eighty percent of those dead from the flu were not vaccinated.”

In 2009, H1N1 was quite bad, Misra said.

“The president had to get on television and tell people to get the vaccination,” he said. “We need more awareness.”

Some helpful ways to prevent contracting the flu are as follow: get vaccinated, have good hygiene, make sure your things are optimally clean, and have common sense.

“One of the biggest harbors can be the phone, moist fingers on keyboards and most places the public handles,” Misra said. “Shopping carts, kid seats, air planes and elevators.”

How often do you think these items are cleaned? Everyone is encouraged to refrain from touching your face while using items the public handles, he said.

Misra said there are two components to boost immune function to ensure you are strong.

“One is an exercise prescription. Have a disciplined exercise regimen to boost the immune system,” he said. “One-hundred-fifty minutes a week with appropriate resistance training is ideal.”

The second way to boost the immune system is called intermittent fasting (IF), Misra said.

“What you do is fast for a period of time,” he said. “This gives a chance to boost bone marrow and immune function. It also enhances immune sharpness.”

Flu season is still upon us and people get sick every day. Take it upon yourself to prepare and prevent catching a potentially deadly situation.


Top five areas to catch the flu - provided by U.S. HealthWorks

  1. Office

·         Keyboards at work often have more bacteria than toilets.

·         Telephones catch water droplets when you talk. Bacteria sits there and multiplies when you're on a call.

·         Office kitchen mugs/utensils are dirtier than a typical home kitchen because dishes sit for longer and it's always the same sponge.

  1. Grocery store, gas station or mall

·         Shopping carts are re-used often and are rarely cleaned.

·         Child seats are a culprit for young children who put things in their mouths wherever they are.

·         ATMS/Credit Card Pads are used all the time by many people and never cleaned.

·         Gas station pump handles are always being touched and not cleaned.

·         Your cell phone after touching handles, greeting people, and touching produce or other products and then putting them back.

  1. Home

·         Kitchens are usually more bacteria-filled than bathrooms, especially refrigerator handles, which people forget to clean.

·         TV remotes are a great way to transfer germs, like after eating a bag of chips than grabbing the device.

·         Shoe bottoms typically can track anything into your home.

  1. Airplanes

·         Airplane bathrooms are actually the most contaminated of all public bathrooms. That’s because people from all over the world use them and the blue flushing fluid can put e-coli moisture into the air…which is already 50 percent re-circulated.

·         Cramped seating makes it easy to get coughed on by the person next to you.

·         Re-circulating air: moisture/water droplets in the air filters can harbor different flu germs.

  1. Elevators, escalators and other transportation

·         Everyone presses the buttons but rarely does anyone clean them.

·         Children commonly use the railing and bring sickness home with them.

·         Handles and seats in taxis, buses and trains.