15 new flu deaths reported in North Carolina, health officials say

New numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released on Thursday show another 15 people died from the flu this season. This brings the total number of reported deaths from the flu this season to 156.

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North Carolina flu season officially started October 2, 2016.

To compare, last season there were 59 total reported flu deaths. Dr. Zack Moore, the acting state epidemiologist, said this 2016-17 season mimics the 2014-15 season, when North Carolina record 218 deaths. This was the highest number of flu-associated deaths reported since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

Doctors encourage people to take the following preventive steps from contracting the flu:

- Get a flu shot
- 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
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- If you are sick, stay home until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours
- Avoid close contact with sick people

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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