Flu season intensifies early throughout N.C.

by Tori Hamby

North Carolina is experiencing its most active flu season in the past decade, officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services said.

Flu activity typically peaks in January, but the state has already reported 12 influenza-related deaths.

Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and South Carolina have also experienced active early flu seasons as well, a CDC report states.

The best defense against the flu is the flu vaccine, said Dr. Zack Moore with the N.C. Division of Public Health. At least two of the victims had not received a seasonal flu vaccine this year, according to North Carolina Health Director Laura Gerald.

Moore urges everyone older than six months to get a flu shot as soon as possible. The seasonal flu vaccine becomes available as early as August, and the earlier someone can receive the shot the better chance they have of protecting themselves against the virus, he said.

It takes the body about two weeks to fully respond to the vaccine and protection lasts for about a year.

Flu symptoms, according to the CDC, include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and diarrhea or vomiting (most often experienced by children).

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should stay home to prevent spreading the virus, health officials say.

With fever being one of the key symptoms, the CDC recommends victims wait 24 hours after being fever free – without the use of fever-reducing medications – before returning to work or school.

“Most flu victims will recover without special medical treatment,” Moore said.

Flu victims who are older than 65, younger than 5, pregnant or suffer from medical conditions such as asthma or heart disease are urged to immediately consult medical services.

Seeking medical help is even more important for anyone who experiences extreme symptoms, such as shortness of breath, trouble breathing or confusion.

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Reply