Health officials: Three people in NC have died from flu - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Health officials: Three people in NC have died from flu

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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -

North Carolina health officials have confirmed at least three people in the state have died after becoming infected with the seasonal influenza.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement on Monday.

Three adults, including one from the Charlotte area, have reportedly died.

Health officials say all three people were middle-aged adults who were at increased risk for complications due to underlying medical conditions.  All passed away during the past two weeks after testing positive for Influenza A, one of the main types of flu responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year. 
 
"We extend our deepest sympathy to all of the families on their loss," said Acting State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings, M.D.  "We hope that these tragic cases will help alert other people to the risks associated with contracting flu."
 
According to public health officials, cases of flu in our state have been relatively low so far this season, but are beginning to trend upward.

Flu season typically peaks during January and February.

Complications from flu can be particularly dangerous for high risk groups including infants under 2, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or immune system problems.
 
"Anyone in a high risk group who gets the flu should see a doctor right away so they can receive treatment with an antiviral drug," Cummings said. "Early treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between a mild illness and a very serious illness."
 
Flu vaccination is the most effective treatment against the flu.

If you have not gotten your flu vaccine yet this season, health officials recommend that you get one now. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection. 

Flu vaccine is widely available and protects against the strains of flu circulating this year, including H1N1. Flu vaccine is available in nasal spray and shot form.
 
In addition to vaccination, DHHS encourages everyone to use personal precautions to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly.
  • Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer.
  • Stay home when you are sick until you are 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.

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