According to information collected by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health, health care providers across the state, including college student health centers, already are seeing an increase in flu-like illness. “Last year, we had a mild flu season, but that is not necessarily an indicator of what we can expect this year,” said Dr. Gerald. “Our State Laboratory of Public Health handles flu tests for providers across the state and since the beginning of November, we have seen an increase in positive test results.”
Most influenza infections can be prevented by the simple act of getting the flu vaccine. Flu vaccines are safe and affordable and are the single most effective way to protect yourself and your family.
Flu vaccine is recommended for anyone over 6 months old. It is particularly important for people at high risk of complications, including pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, very young children and the elderly.
This year, flu vaccine is available in several forms, including:
- Nasal spray for healthy, non-pregnant people age 2 to 49 years;
- A regular flu shot for people ages 6 months and older;
- An intradermal flu shot which uses a needle 90 percent smaller than the regular flu shot and is approved for people 18 to 64 years of age; and
- A high-dose flu shot for people 65 and older.
Flu vaccine is widely available through doctors’ offices and health departments and is also available at many pharmacies, work places and other locations. Flu season in North Carolina normally peaks in January or February.
In addition to vaccination, you can prevent the spread of flu and other illness by washing your hands frequently, staying home from work or school while you are sick, and covering coughs and sneezes.
For more information about flu activity and flu vaccines, click here