It’s national influenza vaccination week; 5th flu-related death reported in NC

It’s national influenza vaccination week; 5th flu-related death reported in NC
(Source: WBRC video)

NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Another flu-related death has been reported in North Carolina, bringing the state’s total to five so far this season.

CDC Flu Blog-A-Thon

The most recent death in North Carolina appears to be an adult between 25 and 49 years old, all others were 65 and older.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity is low overall but increasing across the country. It's national influenza vaccination week to remind people it's not too late to get vaccinated.

So far more than 160 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed. The CDC says the vaccine has many benefits and is the best way to reduce your risk of flu and its potentially serious consequences.

It is recommended everyone over 6 months old be vaccinated against the flu. The vaccine can make the illness milder and reduce the risk of more serious outcomes.

The CDC says it is especially important for those at higher risk of complications, such as people over 65 years old, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Meet the Shot Dodgers

In North Carolina, flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring with activity usually peaking in January or February, according to NCDHHS.

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

Take these precautions to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses:

  • Stay home when sick until fever-free for at least 24 hours 
  • Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly 

Be sure to contact your doctor immediately if you think you have the flu. Early treatment with an antiviral drug can help prevent flu infections from becoming more serious.

The Division of Public Health’s surveillance for the 2018-19 flu season began Sept. 30 and will continue through late May.

During the 2017-18 flu season, 391 flu deaths were reported in North Carolina, the highest death toll in a single flu season since it became a requirement to report adult flu deaths to public health officials in 2009. Of those 391 deaths, 290 were people age 65 and older and seven were under the age of 18.

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