After recent NC deaths, officials are pushing the flu vaccination

Published: Dec. 9, 2013 at 10:57 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2013 at 10:58 AM EST
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WILMINGTON,NC (WECT)- So far in the state of North Carolina, three people have died from the seasonal flu.

The patients were from Eastern Carolina, the Triad, and the Charlotte area.

Since we're approaching the holidays where many are surrounded by several friends and family, officials are urging those who haven't been vaccinated, to get vaccinated.

Those who died were middle aged people who had underlying medical conditions which influenced their reaction to the flu but doctors have said many tragedies can be prevented from getting the flu shot or nasal mist.

Complications from flu become most dangerous for people with chronic medical conditions, infants, pregnant women and the elderly.

The main complication is that the flu can turn to pneumonia and once this happens, it's hard to fight off.

Pneumonia is actually the leading cause of death in some southern states. However, the flu vaccine could have prevented some of those deaths.

Traditionally, the flu season picks up in December, first sickening residents in the southern and eastern parts of the U.S., then spreading throughout the rest of the country.

Flu season typically peaks in January and February, but it can last well into April.

It takes about two weeks after the vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection.

Officials also want you to remember the flu vaccination cannot cause the flu.

However, here's how you can develop the flu even if you've been vaccinated according to the CDC:

You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated.

This exposure may result in you becoming ill with flu before the vaccine begins to protect you-- it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that provide protection develop in the body.

Also, the vaccination is not a perfect tool--meaning there's a very slight possibility you may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine as there are many different flu viruses that circulate every year.

The composition of the flu shot is reviewed each season and updated if needed to protect against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common.

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