The California Department of Public Health announced on Friday, that the number of confirmed influenza related deaths in the state increased to 202. There are an additional 41 deaths under investigation that have not yet been confirmed.
The county confirmed 24 deaths in Sacramento, 21 of those recognized by the State.
Two thirds of the victims were between the ages of 40 and 64.
Los Angeles County had the most reported deaths with 26.
Public Health officials said a handful of flu victims already had their flu shot before falling ill.
While they said the peak is over, doctors still stress the importance of getting the flu shot.
However, some are turning away from the vaccine in favor of alternative medicine.
Hundreds of new flu patients have found their solution at Tian Chao Herbs and Acupuncture in Midtown, Sacramento.
Bian McDermid was skeptical at first, but after hearing his girlfriend’s success story, he decided to give acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine a shot.
“I’m a chicken when it comes to needles. I don’t care for anything poking in my face. But there comes a point in time when you see someone getting results, and the finally, it’s like okay, I’m going to test the water,” McDermid said.
Fox 40 interviewed McDermid while he had 12 thin needles strategically placed on his body.
Licensed Acupuncturist Tian Li Wu of Tian Chao Herbs and Acupuncture treats many patients even after they received their flu shots. Wu said some herbal remedies have anti-viral qualities.
Some skeptics still wonder if the ancient medicine works on the ever-changing flu.
“The flu changes every year, but your body doesn’t change. Your body’s immune system is always the best fighter,” Wu said.
That is the first thing herbal experts try to improve.
“Zeng Mian Ling” is an ancient medicine known to improve your body’s natural immunity. It’s western counterpart would be something like Emergen-C.
For patients experiencing the first sign of the illness, Wu suggested taking “Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pien,” which is considered to be the Chinese flu version of ZICAM.
“Cold Burst Zhong Gan Ling” is an anti-viral medicine that is supposed to fight the flu once you fall ill. She said it can be compared to Tamiflu.
While Wu does not discredit Western medicine, she believes Eastern medicine works best for her.
“Many people have many different ideas about this. Some people say chicken soup, your mother’s recipe, but I think natural herbal remedies with acupuncture will be the best way,” Wu said.
As for McDermid, it was the clear choice for him.
“The fact that my nose is open now is delightful. It’s changed my life,” McDermid said.
Acupuncture treatments cost up to $80, and a bottle of herbal tablets costs between $10 and $30.
Some insurance policies cover these alternative methods.
Doctors also said a healthy diet makes a difference in fighting the flu.
Kiwis, red peppers, and citrus fruit provide Vitamin C, which can also help prevent it.