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Health Team

One new flu death reported in NC as season comes to an end

Posted May 3, 2018 1:42 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:20 a.m. EDT

— The devastating flu season appears to be winding down in North Carolina, with only one flu-related death reported last week.

So far this season, the flu has killed a record 379 people statewide. The vast majority of deaths have been among people age 65 and older.

No flu-related deaths were reported in North Carolina last week, signifying that the deadly flu season is coming to an end.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people — such as older people, young children and people with certain health conditions — are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

It is not too late in the season to get a flu shot. The flu season can run into May.

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100-degree or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

Do you know the difference between a cold and the flu?

Similarities

Both the cold and flu are viruses, meaning they cannot be “cured” by antibiotics, and both will abate on their own timetables. The cold and flu also share some symptoms, such as headaches, potentially a sore throat, fatigue or weakness, and aches and pains.

The cold and flu also share a similarity in what they are not – neither is a version of the ‘stomach flu,’ or 24-hour bug. The “stomach flu” as it’s commonly known, is usually viral gastroenteritis, and is unrelated to either the common cold or influenza.

Differences

The main difference of course between the flu and the common cold are the severity and duration of symptoms. The flu tends to have a faster onset of symptoms, which can include fevers as high as 104 F, chills, exhaustion and severe aches. It will be difficult to carry out your normal daily routine with the flu, and the fever will often last between three to five days, with tiredness and fatigue lasting up to two to three weeks.

The common cold usually only lasts a day or so, and most healthy adults can continue to work and be productive throughout the illness. Fevers are rare, as are complicating factors and other related illnesses.

The most important difference is that flu is also potentially deadly to children beneath the age of 6 months and in the elderly (65 years and older), while the cold will likely be a nuisance that needs monitoring but is not cause for alarm.