Health officials discuss spread of illnesses outside of traditional flu season

Health officials discuss spread of illnesses outside of traditional flu season
Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 6:17 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The summertime heat might not feel like the traditional flu season of the fall and winter, but health officials say this does not mean respiratory viruses will go away.

Paige Lundberg with New Hanover County’s Department of Health and Human Services says the flu and COVID-19 are sticking around through the summer.

“Some of the flu-like viruses that we see in the wintertime versus the summertime are pretty much the same,” Lundberg said. “Even though we tend to think of the flu as occurring more in the fall and wintertime, viruses don’t have one time of year that they particularly like to occur during.”

Lundberg says people are more likely to protect themselves from getting sick in the winter versus the summer.

“I think that we just tend to be a little more hyper-vigilant about preventing them because we associate, kind of, the fall in the winter, more so with getting sick and seeing an increase in diseases,” Lundberg said.

Data from the North Carolina DHHS shows while the percentage of emergency room visits for flu-like illnesses is significantly lower than it is in the winter, these viruses are still around. That’s why officials like Lundberg say it is important to keep your health at the top of your mind.

“We always just go back to the basics of making sure you’re washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth if you have to cough or sneeze, and then certainly staying home if you start to feel some symptoms in yourself or if you know others who are sick and experiencing symptoms, just trying to separate yourself from them a little bit,” she said.