NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV/AP) - Eighteen new flu deaths have been reported in North Carolina, bringing the total to 253 for the season.
The flu season started October 1. North Carolina health officials say the 18 new flu deaths were reported between Feb. 18 and Feb. 24. Sixteen new flu deaths have been reported in South Carolina, bringing the total to 167 for the season, the AP reports.
There are some signs of improvement.
Health officials say more than 6,300 flu cases were reported across South Carolina. That's less than half of the number of cases reported just a week earlier in the state, the AP reports. DHEC also says hospitalizations were down more than 180 from the week before.
The flu season usually runs through May.
DHEC says the flu shot is the best protection against the flu. The agency is waiving administrative for the flu shot at its public health clinics.
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Multiple flu infections in the same person are rare but not unheard of.
"It would be bad luck but it has happened - based on strains," said Michael Anthony "Tony" Moody, chief medical officer of Duke University's Human Vaccine Institute. "The strains tend not to circulate at the same time. You can catch them back to back to back like that."
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is urging people to protect themselves against the virus.
"We're in the middle of a nationwide flu epidemic and I'm asking North Carolinians to do their part to stay healthy and stop the flu from spreading," Cooper said in a statement.