County of Marin - News Releases - Flu Season

For Immediate Release
October 02, 2017

Beat the Flu Season: Get Vaccinated Early

Bay Area Health Officials Announce Start of Influenza Season and Steps For Protection

San Rafael, CA. – Because the flu is unpredictable and the vaccine takes up to two weeks to become fully effective, Marin County health officials urge everyone six months and older to get vaccinated early in the season. It’s important to get vaccinated prior to the circulation of influenza in your community. Ensuring timely flu shots can prevent a disease that hospitalizes 200,000 Americans every year.

A man on the left receives a flu shot from a female nurse on the right.A man receives a flu vaccine from a nurse. Public Health officials are advising all residents to consider the flu shot as a proven method for preventing the flu.
“We’ve already seen a few cases of influenza in Marin County, which is the usual for this time of the year,” said Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin County Deputy Health Officer. “We encourage people to get their flu shot now to protect themselves before the flu spreads through our communities. Please ensure you and your loved ones are protected from the flu this season.  The flu vaccine is safe and effective.”

The vaccine keeps individuals protected for many months, but not forever. Also the strains of influenza change over time, so it’s important to get vaccinated every year. While everyone six months and older should get vaccinated, it is especially important for pregnant women, children younger than five, adults 65 and older, and those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.

In addition to getting the vaccine, health officials advise individuals to take the following steps to protect themselves and loved ones from influenza.

  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue.
  • If you do not have a tissue, cough into your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Stay home until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.

Beyond individual actions, there are many things communities can do fight the flu. Community mitigation strategies such as regular cleaning of doorknobs and surfaces can help keep schools and workplaces germ free and help stop the spread of the flu.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. People at higher risk of severe disease who show flu symptoms should contact their medical provider. Medical providers may prescribe antiviral medications that reduce the severity and duration of illness. Antibiotics are not effective against the flu.

Residents are encouraged to contact their health care provider to get their flu shot. The vaccine is also available at pharmacies, retail stores, and is offered by some employers.  Marin County Health and Human Services a is doing targeted flu vaccination outreach to uninsured and underinsured populations.

For more information about influenza visit or the CDPH influenza web page. To find a flu vaccine at a location near you, visit  or the Vaccine Finder.


Dr. Lisa Santora
Deputy Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Lisa Santora
Marin HHS website