Flu activity on rise in state


First Posted: 2/22/2009

Surry County Health &
Nutrition Center

Recent reports show that flu activity has begun to increase in North Carolina, according to state public health officials. Health care providers across the state who participate in the states Influenza Sentinel Surveillance Program have reported increases in flu-like illness over the past four weeks; flu is now widespread in North Carolina.
So far, it appears this will be an average flu season for the state. However, over the last four weeks, flu activity has begun to rise, causing concern. Nationally, flu accounts for 36,000 deaths of adults and children and 200,000 hospitalizations annually.
Flu symptoms begin suddenly and may include fever, severe headache, body aches, sore throat and cough. Flu can make a person more susceptible to pneumonia, which can be especially dangerous to people who already suffer from heart or lung disease.
With North Carolina recently reporting the death of a child due to flu complications, health officials are once again alerting the public to the dangers of not getting protection from the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its recommendations regarding flu vaccine. The CDC now advises all children from 6 months through 18 years of age be vaccinated against the flu. Vaccination is also recommended for any adults who want to protect themselves from the flu. Adults 50 and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, household contacts of people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women and healthcare workers are particularly encouraged to get vaccinated.
Everyone should get the flu shot, especially infants and the elderly. Although it is closing in on the latter part of February, it is still not too late to get vaccinated.
The Surry County Health & Nutrition Center still has some vaccine available. Flu shots cost $30; simply call 401-8590.

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