As many problem already know by now, flu season is “widespread” and on the rise in North Carolina, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control.
North Carolina is one of 12 states that is categorized as having “widespread flu activity.”
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Region 5, which includes Watauga County and goes east to Guilford County, has the third-highest flu rate in the state. The NC DHHS divides the state into seven regions.
Four influenza-associated deaths in North Carolina were reported in the last week of December and two more in the first week of January.
The total number of influenza-associated deaths reported this season is now 10, although this does not represent all flu-associated deaths in the state, since many go undiagnosed or unreported, according to the agency.
The biggest at-risk age division are adults over the age of 65.
Seven of the 10 flu deaths in North Carolina this season have been seniors.
“Flu will still be circulating for at least the next several weeks,” said Zack Moore, MD, MPH, acting sate epidemiologist.”
Getting vaccinated now helps protect you and those you come in contact with.”
For more information on flu and to find out where you can get a flu vaccination in your community, visit www.flu.nc.gov.
Prevention is Key
According to the AppHealthCare, a branch of the Appalachian District Health Department, the best way to stay healthy and combat a respiratory (flu) virus, stomach virus and other viruses is through preventive measures. Getting flu vaccine Wash your hands frequently, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, being with ill people and especially before you eat, if you are having vomiting and diarrhea.
- Avoid sharing objects (examples: drinking glasses, utensils, etc.)
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes (face)
- Get enough sleep and avoid getting “run down”
- Reduce stress
- Use tissues for coughs/sneezes and dispose of them immediately
- Eat right and drink plenty of fluids
- Avoid crowds and keep your distance from people whom you know are ill
- If you are sick, avoid contact with the frail, very young and elderly. Do not visit friends or family at hospitals, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.
- If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
Notify your physician if you are not feeling any better or if you are getting worse.
Geographic Spread of Influenza
The influenza activity reported by state and territorial epidemiologists indicates geographic spread of influenza viruses, but does not measure the severity of influenza activity.
During week 1, the following influenza activity was reported:
Widespread influenza activity was reported by Puerto Rico and 21 states (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington).
Regional influenza activity was reported by Guam and 21 states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming).
Local influenza activity was reported by the District of Columbia and eight states (Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia).
No influenza activity was reported by the U.S. Virgin Islands.