State health officials announced Tuesday that three people, including one from the Charlotte area, have died from seasonal flu. These are the first three adult flu deaths of the year.
The Charlotte-area victim is not from Mecklenburg County, according to local health officials. The other victims are from eastern North Carolina and the Triad region. All were middle-aged and were at increased risk for complications due to underlying medical conditions. All died during the past two weeks after testing positive for Influenza A, one of the main types of flu responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.
Flu cases are beginning to increase in North Carolina, health officials said. The season typically peaks during January and February. Complications from flu can be dangerous for high-risk groups, such as infants under 2, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or immune system problems.
Those at high risk for complications should see a doctor immediately if they get the flu. Antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, can short the duration or severity of the illness.
Flu vaccination, in nasal spray or shots, is the most effective prevention. The vaccine, which is widely available from health departments, doctors offices and retail pharmacies, takes about two weeks to become effective.
Health officials also encourage people to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses by covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the elbow, washing hands frequently and staying home from work or school when youre sick.
For more information, www.flu.nc.gov.
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