Flu season is upon us and it's taking its toll. A 30-year-old Coachella Valley man tested positive for the H1N1 strain or swine flu and died this week shortly after he was hospitalized.
Riverside County health officials are investigating if the man had any underlying health issues that may have contributed to his death and whether or not he had received a flu vaccine.
"It's going to send alarms, especially for kids. People are going to think about their kids," said John Santucci of Palm Springs.
Korina Vargas, of Palm Springs, said her daughter Angelina hasn't taken a sick day from ballet or school since kindergarten, but Vargas herself wasn't so lucky a few weeks ago.
"I had a really high fever, headache and stomach issues. It lasted about 24 hours," she said.
With "Flu Shot Here" signs posted at local pharmacies and county family care clinics offering free shots, health officials stress families get the flu vaccine. Ramon Leon, with the Riverside County Health Dept. said it is the most effective protection against flu viruses. And it's not too late to get one.
"The vaccine is still available. We recommend that for anyone who is 6 months and older to get the vaccine," said Leon. "They should be getting it as the flu season goes on."
"The one time I did get the shot I got the flu. I haven't had the shot since or the flu since and that was years ago," said Santucci.
Vargas and her daughter said they don't plan on getting a flu shot, but to reduce chances of catching the virus, "Eat fruits and vegetables and wash your hands," said Angelina.
"Watch who you're shaking hands with or who you're hugging," said Santucci. "It's something you need to be more curious and more careful about."
Symptoms of H1N1:
- A fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (feeling very tired)
Flu vaccines are available at the County of Riverside's Family Care Centers and you don't need to make an appointment.
Indio Family Care Center
47-923 Oasis St., Indio, CA 92201
7:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday
Clinic: (760) 863-8283
Palm Springs Family Care Center
1515 North Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Open: 7:30 am -5:00 pm, Monday - Friday
Clinic: (760) 778-2210
Call 1-888-246-1215 for more information. You can also visit http://rivco-familycarecenters.org/