More Flu Deaths Reported in NC Last Week

Updated numbers were released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday morning regarding influenza across the state.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday there were 16 flu-related deaths for the week that ended Sunday, as well as three deaths from previous weeks. Circulating viruses include H3N2, H1N1, and B which are all contained in this year's flu vaccine.

Some county health directors do not publicly report flu deaths, citing patient privacy policies or state DHHS directives.

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Those most vulnerable to having serious problems with the flu are the very young, elderly, pregnant women and people with other significant health conditions such as asthma, heart or lung disease, diabetes or weakened immune systems.

The health department says flu vaccine supply is good this year.

"A lot of the patients that we're seeing were vaccinated early on in the season, and the flu shot approximately lasts for three months so they are out of that range now", Jaci Savage with Mercy said.

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Flu symptoms include a 100-degree Fahrenheit fever, cough and/or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. By staying home, the agency stresses that means not going to school or work, shopping, social events, public gatherings, travel or any other activity that may expose others.

People can still get flu shots, but the vaccine is more effective at the start of the season, she said. It's not too late to get a flu vaccine. At the same time, flu activity is now widespread in 44 states after hitting a high of widespread activity in 46 states the prior week. Flu activity in Tennessee, Montana, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii has been deemed "regional", while in Utah is has been classified as "sporadic".

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