First Lady, State Health Director Encourage North Carolinians to Get Vaccinated Against the Flu

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Raleigh Sep 26, 2017 – North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper joined State Health Director Betsey Tilson, M.D., on Tuesday at Wake County Human Services to encourage North Carolinians to get vaccinated against the flu.

Cooper got her flu shot at the Wake County Human Services Immunization Clinic, which was holding its first of three clinics for Wake County employees.

“A flu shot is a simple step that is vitally important to protecting yourself during flu season,” said Cooper. “Not only does it protect you, it protects people around you, including your friends and family.”

Flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring in North Carolina with activity usually peaking in January or February. The CDC recommends yearly vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months and older. For the second year in a row, the CDC is recommending the injectable vaccine instead of the nasal spray because of concerns about the nasal spray’s effectiveness.

“A flu shot can protect you for the duration of the flu season, which typically ends in early spring,” said Tilson, who spends her Tuesday mornings taking care of patients at Wake County Human Services’ Child Health Clinic. “We recommend that people get vaccinated before the end of October. Spread of the flu can be more effectively prevented if more people get vaccinated early in the season.”

During the 2016-17 flu season, 219 flu deaths were reported in North Carolina, a reminder that it can be a serious illness – especially for adults older than 65, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

According to studies cited by the CDC, vaccination against the flu can:

  • Protect people who are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from flu, like older adults, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions (including obesity) and young children
  • Make illness milder and reduce the risk of more serious outcomes
  • Protect pregnant women and their developing baby

People should take the following precautions to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses:

  • Stay home when sick until fever-free for at least 24 hours
  • Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly

Flu shots are available at hospitals, pharmacies, private medical offices, some federally qualified health care centers and local health departments.

Weekly updates on flu surveillance data will be posted online beginning Oct. 12 at http://flu.nc.gov.

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