According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), widespread geographic flu activity went from 11 states to 38 states last week. 19 states reported high ILI (influenza like illness) activity; nine--including North Carolina--reported moderate activity, and 10 others reported sporadic activity.
According to the CDC, 1,562 people had been hospitalized for the flu since October 1, 2018 by the end of December.
Children who are under the age of five and people who are over the age of 65 have the highest rates of hospitalization.
There have been 13 pediatric deaths associated with the flu since the 2018-2019 flu season began. It's estimated that 15.6% of the respiratory specimens that were tested during the week of December 22 tested positive for the flu.
Influenza Type A was the most commonly reported flu virus. There were 448 positive flu tests during the week of December 22. Over 96% of those were the Influenza Type A virus.
80,000 Americans died from flu during the 2017-2018 flu season. Last year's flu season saw the deaths of 391 people in North Carolina associated with flu compared to 218 during the flu season of 2016-2017.
The worst of the flu season, based on reported confirmed cases, last year was late December through the end of January. The previous year, the worst period was from late January through the end of February.
So far this year, the North Carolina Dept. of Health & Human Services has reported at least 10 people have died from flu since the end of September.
The seasonal flu shot is recommended for people over the age of six months. Health officials agree this is the best thing you can do to protect yourself.
Flu shots are covered by Medicare Part B, health insurance marketplace plans, most private insurers and Medicaid. You don't need to head to the doctor's office either — many drugstores, supermarkets and other retail locations accept insurance, meaning you pay nothing out of pocket. Flu shots are available at the Lincoln County Health Dept. on Gamble Drive Monday - Friday 8:00 - 11:00 AM and 1:00 - 4:00 PM.
While some argue that the flu shot isn't effective or necessary, some of them even claiming adverse side effects, the truth (based on massive evidence) is that they are wrong. While it's true that the flu shot is not 100 percent effective; if you get the flu, it will likely be a lot less serious if you have had the shot.
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