RALEIGH, N.C. – The number of confirmed flu cases and flu-related deaths is rising in North Carolina as the peak of the 2016-17 flu season nears, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. There were 16 influenza-associated deaths in the state during the week ending Feb. 25.
The total number of influenza-associated deaths this season, which started last Oct. 2, is now 63. That’s four more than died during all of last year’s flu season. Influenza is widespread throughout most of North Carolina.
State health officials encourage all residents to protect themselves and others against the flu. Although vaccination early in the season is recommended, it is never too late to get vaccinated and help protect yourself and others from the spread of this dangerous, sometimes deadly virus.
During the 2014-2015 season, North Carolina recorded 218 deaths, the highest number of flu-associated deaths in the past six years. There were 59 flu-associated deaths during the 2015-2016 season. This serves as a reminder that flu can be a serious illness, especially for adults over 65, children under five, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
Everyone should use precautions to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses, including:
- Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly
- If you are sick with flu, stay home until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours
For more information on flu and to find out where you can get a flu vaccination in your community, visit www.flu.nc.gov.