Published: Fri, January 05, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Flu deaths rise to seven in North Carolina

Flu deaths rise to seven in North Carolina

The Laredo Health Department is urging the public to get their flu shots immediately, since the state is seeing a widespread spike in flu cases. "They go through this antigenic change every year, so March is when they decide what's going into the vaccine and we start seeing the cases in September and October".

Both outpatient visits and hospitalizations related to influenza-like illnesses are above the expected levels for this stage of the flu season. The report issued for the week ending December 30 lists seven deaths, bringing the total to 20 for this flu season. But it's hard to compare one flu season with another, he said. In the previous season, 219 people died in North Carolina from the flu. Dukes says it isn't too late to get a shot since flu season can run well into the spring in Oklahoma.

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Dr. Christopher Ohl, infectious disease expert at Wake Forest Baptist, said there has been "a significant increase in influenza and influenza-like illness in both adults and children" over the past two weeks.

"Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean", said Brandie Anderson, director of infection prevention at Banner-University Medical Center.

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"Patients experiencing flu symptoms should see a health provider, including primary care or urgent care, as soon as possible, because there is a prescription medicine that can reduce the duration and symptoms".

Contact Mikayla Mace at 573-4158 and Stephanie Innes at 573-4134.

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