All across the USA flu season has grown to the worst level in a decade. North Carolina is a prime example of the rise of influenza this year, reports The Charlotte Observer. 17 people have died in the state.
Elderly are Hit the Hardest
Most cases have been influenza Type A H3N2, which often affects the elderly the hardest, according to Dr. Zack Moore, medical epidemiologist with Carolina's health division. “As we would expect with an H3N2-predominant season, there have been a lot of long-term care outbreaks and reports of severe illnesses and deaths in the elderly," he told The Charlotte Observer.
Post-vaccination Period - Two Weeks
The recommendation is to get a flu shot. Flu season will peak in late January or early February, enough time to use the two week post-vaccination period needed for antibodies to kick in and fight off the flu.
People 65 years and older are highly-recommended to receive the flu shot. There is no shortage of flu vaccine in the Charlotte area or the state. A physician from Carolinas Medical Center’s Arboretum Urgent Care said the injectable vaccine cannot cause flu. At worst it can create achiness in the arm. The influenza vaccine isn't perfect, but it’s the best tool to prevent the flu.
- Wash your hands often with soap and hot water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Sneeze or cough into your elbow. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands
- Stay home if you’re sick. Stay away from your other family members at home to try to decrease their risk of getting flu
Doctors in Charlotte are cautiously optimistic that the flu might have hit a peak during the last week of December, but continue to issue a public health warning.