Editorial: Flu Season Is Escalating: Get Your Vaccine

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 26 February 2020 02:20

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

Flu shots are widely available at a variety of health care settings. To find a location near you, use the Flu Vaccine Finder at flu.nc.gov. Ninety flu-associated deaths have already been reported in North Carolina during the current flu season, with 54 of those being in people over 65 years of age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 27 pediatric flu deaths had been reported from other states as of Jan. 4, 2020.

208 people died from Influenza in North Carolina between September 30th, 2018 and May 18th, 2019.

If you do get the flu and venture out to share your illness with the rest of the world, remember, not everyone can fight the flu successfully.

Please stay home and if you have to go out, warn people that you have the flu so they can keep their distance. A couple of years ago I was out shopping one night and talked to a cashier who was describing a lady that went through her checkout line coughing and freely admitted she had the flu. 

Cue the clouds of disinfectant spray as the lady walked out the door to continue spreading her influenza juices to the innocent unsuspecting masses. Some with flu shots, some without. It's hard to imagine people still head on out the door pumped full of medication to keep on spreading the germs, potentially dealing out the death card in the checkout line down at the grocery store.

If you're sick and know or suspect that you have the flu, please stay home.

By all means, if you are feeling well, go get your flu shot. You can get them at numerous locations throughout the New Hanover County area.

“A flu shot is one of the first lines of defense against the virus and it’s not too late to get one,” said New Hanover County Public Health Director Phillip Tarte. “The flu virus is very contagious and can be anywhere – a gas pump, the counter at a store, or on your child’s backpack. Be diligent and wash your hands frequently."

Each year, the peak of the flu season occurs at different times. “The flu season is spiking earlier this year than it did last year,” said Tarte. A comparison over the past three years of flu illness in North Carolina can be viewed at www.flu.nc.gov

The county’s Health Department offers a flu clinic for the public and administers the vaccine at county schools at the start of each flu season. The Health Department also offers education and prevention assistance to local organizations and businesses.

School nurses continually monitor the schools for illnesses; and the Health Department is prepared to assist schools with any abnormally-high flu occurrence, but none have been reported this flu season. The Health Department will continue to closely monitor the public’s health during this flu season  and   keep the community
informed.

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