ELIZABETHTOWN — The flu season is here, and the Bladen County Health Department is urging folks to take advantage of vaccines against the virus.
For the week ending Dec 30, 2017 — the latest data set — the Centers for Disease Control reported eight out of eight jurisdictions in the Southeast report widespread influenza activity, with 17 percent of specimens testing positive for the virus. Three pediatric deaths have been attributed to the flu thus far during the 2017-18 flu season in the southeast region, and North Carolina was one of 46 states to report the virus is widespread.
The most frequently identified virus subtype reported by public health laboratories, on a national scale, during the last week of 2017 was influenza A(H3).
Though the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was below the epidemic threshold, health agencies are still urging folks to be on their guard.
“Be aware of being around large and crowded areas,” said Bladen County Health Department’s Marianne Valentiner.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
· Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
· Sore throat
· Runny or stuffy nose
· Muscle or body aches
· Fatigue (very tired)
· Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Again this year, the Centers for Disease Control is encouraging the use of the flu shot rather than the nasal spray. At the Bladen County Health Department, the following flu vaccines are available:
· the Flu vaccine (ages 6 months and up)
· the Flu Intradermal vaccine (90-percent shorter needle)
· the High Dose Flu vaccine (is recommended for ages 65 and older)
The Bladen County Health Department takes Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Health Care, Cigna, Medcost, Medicare, and Medicaid. If not covered by insurance, the cost of the vaccine will range from $45-75.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.