Oakland County health officials urge flu vaccinations

Saul Bowman
February 2, 2018

The 52 flu deaths were recorded between August 27 and January 27 and the DPH said flu activity remains high and widespread, "with an increasing number of patients presenting flu symptoms, as well as increasing numbers of flu-associated hospitalizations and deaths".

Crawford County's 379 cases so far this flu season compares to 890 reported cases in the county for October 2016 through 2017.

There have been 95 flu deaths in North Carolina this season, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Every region of the state showed an upswing in positive results for flu, and every county in the state is now pegged as having influenza activity in the highest category.

The same virus was the dominant flu bug last winter, when the flu season wasn't as bad. Symptoms of influenza are similar to cold symptoms, but come on more swiftly and are more pronounced.

The people most susceptible to the flu are children younger than five years of age; people 65 and older; pregnant women; people with health issues such as asthma; diabetes or heart disease and those who take medications that weaken the immune system such as chemotherapy.

"The CDC expects that pediatric flu deaths could reach a record high this year across the country. If your child develops a fever, respiratory symptoms, or is less responsive than normal, contact your child's doctor immediately".

Nationally, hospitals have been forced to devise new spaces to house patients, to restrict visitors and to postpone elective surgeries.

"You should still get a flu shot because if you do get the flu, and you've got the flu shot then it's going to be less severe because it protects against four different strains", Graves said.

"We will keep ordering more and will offer the flu shot until June 30", Sullender said.

The vaccine takes about two weeks to build immunity, she said, so sometimes people are exposed to the illness around the time they have the shot and become ill, but the two are not connected.

Pharmacists will be on hand Monday to answer questions regarding the flu vaccine and the prevention and treatment of the influenza virus.

Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics.

Those who have not yet received a flu shot this season are encouraged to do so, since flu activity can last as late as May.

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