Flu season hits the Triangle hard

February 12, 2008 5:31:18 AM PST
The Triangle is in the midst of a busy flu season, but health officials say it's still not too late to protect yourself.

The flu recently sidelined many Carolina Hurricanes players and has colleges like UNC Chapel Hill issuing medical alerts.

Wake County Health Director, Dr. David Damsker explains, "Right now we are seeing a pretty strong surge in flu cases."

The latest number of cases reported statewide shows 4.87% of patients with flu-like symptoms. That's higher than the peak for last year. "We don't know if that's the top of the peak, but right now, it's at least as high as it has been over the last several years," Damsker said.

This year there is no shortage of flu vaccine, but Dr. Damsker says there is one thing you should know about the shot. "The vaccine is not exactly a great match for one of the strains," he said, but the vaccine is one of the best protections against the virus.

In fact, Wake County just lowered a shot to $10 from $25 to encourage vaccinations. Damsker says there's another way to fight the flu. "The shot is number one. Number two is a close second good hygiene."

Even though the number of reported flu cases is on the upswing in NC, health officials say there is still plenty of vaccine to go around and it's not too late to get a flu shot

It takes up to two-weeks to provide protection and some people get it sooner than that. Doctors say the season could easily last another two months so getting a flu shot now can certainly prevent you from getting the flu later in the season.

The flu season doesn't officially end until May.


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