WNC health officials urge people to get flu shots before season hits its peak


    While it’s too early to tell how effective this year’s flu vaccine is, health officials said the most common strain is Influenza A and that is what this vaccine covers. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

    New numbers released by the state show 16 people have died from the flu so far in the 2018-19 season.

    That’s three more than the previous week.

    "Flu is currently widespread across the Southeast, including North Carolina. We have not reached peak flu activity yet. That’s expected to occur before the end of February,” said Crystal O’Dell, director of nursing for the Henderson County Health Department.

    Health officials in the mountains are encouraging people to get their flu shots now before peak activity occurs.

    “It takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to truly take effect, and, so if you’re trying to be vaccinated at the peak season, it’s not going to be as effective as if you get it now,” O’Dell said.

    It was January when the number of flu deaths started to soar in 2018.

    By the end of that season, North Carolina charted 391 flu deaths. That’s the most since the state started tracking adult flu deaths in 2009.

    “Now's the time to get the flu shot. We’re definitely getting down to crunch time for flu vaccine,” O’Dell said.

    It would appear that people are taking the advice.

    She said there has been an increase of people seeking flu shots at the health department since Christmas.

    While it’s too early to tell how effective this year’s flu vaccine is, health officials said the most common strain is Influenza A and that is what this vaccine covers.

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