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Health Team

State Health Chief: Flu Widespread in N.C.

Posted February 7, 2008

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— State Health Director Leah Devlin announced Thursday that statistics verify what many people knew – the flu is widespread across North Carolina.

That means residents should taking steps to prevent infection, Devlin said.

“It isn’t too late to vaccinate,” Devlin said. “Many health departments and health-care providers still have vaccine available."

She added, "There are other vital actions you can take to limit the spread of flu infection. Wash your hands. Cover your coughs and sneezes. If you are sick, stay home.”

The state monitors influenza-like illness during the flu season. Flu-like illness is a temperature of 100 degrees or greater accompanied by a cough or sore throat.

Seventy-six health-care providers statewide report the number of people they are seeing with those symptoms every week. Based on those reports, public health experts determine how the flu is progressing across the state.

The latest report, issued Thursday, is for the week that ended Saturday. Health-care providers reported that 4.87 percent of their patients had flu-like illness. That is higher than the peak for last year’s flu season.

Last year, the peak came in late December, with 3 percent of patients reporting flu-like illness.

The 4.87 percent figure for this year is higher than that the peaks for the four previous seasons. However, it is still far below the record-high 7.7 percent recorded during mid-December 2003.

19 Comments

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  • davido Feb 11, 2008

    My great-grandmother died in the 1918 flu epidemic.

  • North Wake Dad Feb 11, 2008

    Thank you, Orange RN, for that post. So many people confuse the vomiting "stomach bug" with the flu. Anyone skeptical about all the concern over a pandemic flu should read "The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history" by John M. Barry. I read that last summer and wow, what an eye opener. It was about the 1918 influenza outbreak and all the havoc that wreaked on the US. What we have now is just a regular flu, not a pandemic, of course.

  • Orange RN Feb 8, 2008

    Yes influenza virus infection is indeed serious. More than 36,000 people die each year in the US. It can be differentiated from a ‘cold’ by high fever and muscle aches. Most people develop a severe cough, but some (especially children) may have diarrhea. Vomiting is usually not a symptom. The confusion comes because some people call stomach/intestinal viruses such as the norovirus mentioned below “stomach flu”.

    If you get sick with influenza this year, wait until fall to get a vaccination. The strains in the vaccine can change every year as the flu strains can change every year. If you wait until the new vaccine is released you can maximize your chances of staying healthy next year.
    Yes, pandemic flu is greatly feared. It represents a new strain that we have no immunity to and there is no vaccine for it. In past pandemics more people died in the US than the average number.
    For more info see: www.cdc.gov

  • mrh2008 Feb 7, 2008

    me and my mom both have the flu and let me tell you its rough our fevers jump from 99.5 to 102.3.. its insane and i think next week when im feeling better i am going to get the shot so i dont get it again

  • Yelena Feb 7, 2008

    I had the noro virus last year. I knew I wouldn't die, but there was a day or two when I wished I would. I've never been quite so sick in my life. My 4 year old wound up back in diapers for 3 days over it. It was a miserable 10 days (amount of time it took for the virus to go between the 4 of us)

    The real flu is nothing to sneeze at (pun intended) but nasty colds are often confused with the flu, and no big deal. If the contents of your stomach stay put, it's a cold.

  • moneymaker Feb 7, 2008

    I've only had the flu twice in my life. Once in my early 20's and again in my early 40's. I seriously thought each time that I might not survive. A lot of people thing a bad cold is the flu. Believe me...If your walking around or going to work...it ain't the flu. Both times I was too sick to go to the doctor. Now, I get the shot every year. If you've ever really had it, you easily understand how people could die.

  • Deb1003 Feb 7, 2008

    My child is home from school today w/ a fever, sore throat and cough. I called the DR's office. His recommendation...give meds to ease the fever and body ache and give him cough medicine to control the cough. The flu is going around and at least I know how to deal w/ it.

  • allison842 Feb 7, 2008

    Easy guys, didn't mean to offend anyone who has been broken down with the flu. I suppose I was exaggerating a bit, but it is very annoying to me when my co-workers have a little sniffle and decide that they have to go to the doctor and take off work.

    And it seems like many of the flu deaths are due to complications from other diseases, much like when people die of pneumonia. I could be wrong though. Yes, I understand that there are more severe cases of the flu than others, but I was just talking about the people who have a mild case of it and act like they can't function.

  • patriotsrevenge Feb 7, 2008

    Allison, in a "normal" year, apporoximately 30,000 people die from the flu in the US alone. You don't hear about it because it is common for this to happen. As with most diseases, the very old and the very young are affected the most. Get your flu shots people, they work.

  • wine_girl Feb 7, 2008

    a coworker here has been out all week with the flu...
    she's miserable ...
    my son (who is 4) had his flu shot, but not me, but i am totally thinking about going to get one.

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