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It's Not Too Late To Get Flu Shots

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

All indicators are that flu activity is accelerating in North Carolina, according to state public health officials. Approximately 30 of the 77 health care providers across the state who participate in the state's Influenna Sentinel Surveillance Program, and hospital emergency departments, reported an increase in flu-like illness during the past week, and the State Laboratory of Public Health has confirmed six cases to date.

Nationally, flu accounts for 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths annually.

In North Carolina, flu season normally begins to increase after Christmas and usually peaks in late February or early March.

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"The best way to prevent getting—and spreading—the flu is to get vaccinated," said State Health Director Dr. Leah Devlin. "It's not too late; the flu season is really just getting started here. Contact your health care provider or local health department about getting vaccinated."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its recommendations regarding flu vaccine. The CDC now advises all children from six months through 18 years of age be vaccinated against the flu. Vaccination is also recommended for any adults who want to protect themselves from the flu. Adults 50 and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, household contacts of people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, and healthcare workers are particularly encouraged to get vaccinated.

Flu symptoms begin suddenly and may include fever, severe headache, body aches, sore throat and cough. Flu can make a person more susceptible to pneumonia, which can be especially dangerous to people who already suffer from heart or lung disease.

Besides getting your flu shot, you can take other actions to stop spread of the flu and other respiratory diseases:

* Cover your coughs and sneezes.
* Use tissues and throw them away after each use.
* Wash your hands often.
* If you have flu symptoms, stay home.