North Carolina health officials sound warning after one of the state's 'deadliest' flu seasons

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Flu season is here, and North Carolina health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated.

CDC urges early flu shots; Estimated 80,000 flu deaths last year in US

"A flu vaccination is a simple, easy step that can help keep you healthy," said Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services. "In addition, getting vaccinated can not only protect you, but it can protect your family, loved ones, and others who may be at a higher risk of complications."

In North Carolina, 391 flu deaths were reported during the 2017-2018 flu season -- the most reported during a flu season since adult flu deaths became reportable in the state in 2009.

Of those 391 deaths, 290 were people age 65 and older and seven were children under the age of 18.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months and older.

The vaccinations are available at hospitals, pharmacies, private medical offices, some federally qualified health care centers, and local health departments.

Health officials said vaccination against the flu can make illness milder and reduce the risk of more serious outcomes.

Flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring in North Carolina, with activity usually peaking in January or February.
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