Flu rates seem typical in San Luis Obispo County, officials say

So far this year, there have been 14 lab-confirmed cases of influenza in San Luis Obispo County, said Christine Gaiger, supervising public health nurse at the Public Health Department.

Nine of those cases are of the H1N1 strain, or swine flu; six are the more common AH3 strain. Flu vaccines cover both types.

The local flu season generally runs as late as April and May, with cases showing up an uptick by the end of January and peaking in the middle of February.

“We’re about where we normally are,” Gaiger said. “Schools are reporting some children who are sick with flu symptoms.”

Symptoms can include a cough, congestion, fever, sore throat and muscle aches. The swine flu strain can also cause vomiting and diarrhea.

“We may have a little upsurge (in cases),” Gaiger said, “but nothing significant.”

She suggests that whether one has symptoms or not, call a physician, pharmacy or the Health Department for a vaccine.

It takes about two weeks for immunity to become effective, she said.