Flu season arrives

Flu season has arrived in Sonoma County, announced with a chorus of coughs and sniffles and a rush on Vitamin C.

"The flu stuff is flying off the shelf," said Sue Deevy, who works in the health and beauty aids section at Oliver's Markets in Cotati.

"It's on our doorstep," said Karen Holbrook, interim health officer with the county's Department of Health Services.

Instances of the flu have jumped in recent weeks, said Gary Green, chief of infectious diseases at Kaiser Medical Center in Santa Rosa. Kaiser's northern California region, which stretches from San Jose to Santa Rosa, saw the percent of people testing positive for one flu virus, influenza A, leap to 27 percent in the week that ended Sunday. That was up from 7 percent two weeks earlier.

Sonoma and Marin counties are currently a hot spot within the larger region, Green said. Locally, in the week that ended Dec. 29, 34.8 percent of people tested positive for influenza A and an additional 4.3 percent tested positive for influenza B, which tends to be less severe.

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