NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Public Health is reminding the community to take precautions to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses.
Residents are encouraged to get a flu shot, which is available at the Health Department, doctor’s offices, and local pharmacies.
“A flu shot is one of the first lines of defense against the virus and it’s not too late to get one,” said New Hanover County Public Health Director Phillip Tarte. “The flu virus is very contagious and can be anywhere – a gas pump, the counter at a store, or on your child’s backpack. Be diligent and wash your hands frequently.”
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services specifically recommends:
- Getting a flu shot
- Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly
- If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours.
Since October 1, 2017, there have been 10 flu-related deaths reported in New Hanover County and five of those have been at long-term care facilities. Last year, there were a total of four deaths related to the flu.
Each year, the peak of the flu season occurs at different times. “The flu season is spiking earlier this year than it did last year,” said Tarte. A comparison over the past three years of flu illness in North Carolina can be viewed at http://www.flu.nc.gov.
The county’s Health Department offers a flu clinic for the public and administers the vaccine at county schools at the start of each flu season. The Health Department also offers education and prevention assistance to local organizations and businesses.
School nurses continually monitor the schools for illnesses; and the Health Department is prepared to assist schools with any abnormally-high flu occurrence, but none have been reported this flu season.
The Health Department will continue to closely monitor the public’s health during this flu season and keep the community informed.