Health Care Act

NC flu death toll is rising. Here’s how to protect yourself.

One more N.C. resident has died from the flu, bringing the total flu-related death count to three, according to the health department.

The third death was reported during the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 4.

“These personal losses are also a reminder for all of us that flu can be a serious illness,” state epidemiologist Zack Moore said in an early November news release announcing the first deaths. “We strongly encourage people to protect themselves by getting a flu shot this season if they haven’t already.”

North Carolina had 219 flu-related deaths last season, which went from October 2016 and ended in May, according to state statistics.

Peak flu activity usually occurs in January or February, according to state health officials.

To protect yourself against the flu you should:

▪ Get a flu shot. The vaccine is changed every year to include a mixture of strains of the virus that circulated in prior years. Anyone over 6 months of age should get a flu shot, except for those with documented severe reactions to prior vaccinations. The nasal spray should not be used this flu season.

▪ Wash your hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wetting your hands with clean water, turning off the tap and applying soap. Lather your hands and scrub for at least 20 seconds, then rinse them well and dry them on a clean towel or air dry.

▪ Try to limit the germ spread. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Don’t reuse tissues. Stay home when you’re sick.

Cassie Cope: 704-358-5926, @cassielcope