Health officials: Flu cases on the rise in the Carolinas - FOX Carolina 21

Health officials: Flu cases on the rise in the Carolinas

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(Source: Associated Press) (Source: Associated Press)
RALEIGH, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Health officials say flu cases and flu-related deaths are on the rise in the Carolinas as the peak of the 2016-2017 flu season approaches.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) officials confirm that there have been 16 influenza-associated deaths in the state of North Carolina during the week of February 19 through February 25, alone. South Carolina DHEC officials recorded 10 influenza-associated deaths that occurred the same week.

In North Carolina, the total number of flu-related deaths this season, which began October 2, 2016, is now 63 - four more than the total deaths from last year's flu season. In South Carolina, officials reports 30 influenza-associated deaths since the start of this flu season. Officials say the flu is widespread throughout both states.

Health officials are encouraging residents to protect themselves and others against the flu this season. They say that while vaccination early on in the flu season is recommended, "it is never too late to get vaccinated and help protect yourself and others from the spread of this dangerous, sometimes deadly virus."

North Carolina recorded 218 deaths, the highest number of flu-related deaths in the past six years, during the 2014-2015 season. There were 59 flu-related deaths reported during the 2015-2016 season. 

DHHS officials want to remind residents that the flu can be a serious illness, especially for adults over 65, children under five-years-old, pregnant women and those with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

Health officials have shared the following tips for protecting yourself and others during flu-season:

  • Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly
  • If you are sick with flu, stay home until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours

For more information on flu season, where to get a flu vaccination in N.C., and for weekly updates on flu surveillance data in the state, click here

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