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Health officials urge North Carolinians to gear up for flu season

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 1:27 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Public health officials with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services are urging North Carolinians to get vaccinated against Influenza as the state enters flu season while experiencing a surge of COVID-19 caused by the delta variant.

“COVID-19 is still here, still sending North Carolinians to the hospital with severe illness and still causing deaths. As flu season begins, we all need to do what we can to be as healthy as possible,” said Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, NCDHHS state health director and chief medical officer. “It is critically important to get your flu vaccine and your COVID-19 vaccine. Flu can be a serious and sometimes deadly disease. Getting vaccinated can prevent you from getting ill and keep you from needing a hospital bed.”

The CDC recommends flu vaccinations for everyone six months and older.

“Vaccination against the flu can make illness milder and reduce the risk of more serious outcomes, making it especially important for those at higher risk of complications, such as people over 65, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or obesity,” the NCDHHS stated in a news release.

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

NCDHHS recommends the following precautions be taken to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses like COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick until fever-free for at least 24 hours. Those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should follow CDC guidance for end of isolation.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly.
  • Continue to practice the 3 Ws — wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting 6 feet apart, and washing your hands often can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and flu.

COVID-19 and flu symptoms are similar, so individuals who feel ill should call ahead before going to a doctor’s office, local health department or urgent care. They should consult with a doctor about getting tested for flu and/or COVID-19. Flu symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough and/or sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

More information about flu is available online through the at flu.nc.gov and from the CDC at www.cdc.gov/flu. For information about COVID-19 in North Carolina, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov.

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