Flu activity in North Carolina is higher than normal for this time of year, prompting state health officials to remind North Carolinians that now is the best time to get vaccinated for flu.
“Holiday travel and visits with family may provide more opportunities for cold and flu germs to spread,” State Health Director Laura Gerald said. “Getting a flu vaccination now will reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to friends and family.”
According to information collected by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health, health care providers across the state, including college student health centers, already are seeing an increase in flu-like illness.
“Last year, we had a mild flu season, but that is not necessarily an indicator of what we can expect this year,” Gerald said. “Our State Laboratory of Public Health handles flu tests for providers across the state and since the beginning of November, we have seen an increase in positive test results.”
Most influenza infections can be prevented by the simple act of getting the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is recommended for anyone over 6 months old.
The Surry County Health and Nutrition Center is offering a limited amount of free flu vaccines for the general public.
This state-supplied vaccine will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis and is available to anyone 6 months of age and older, according to Thomas M. Williams Jr., Information & Communications Specialist for Surry County Health and Nutrition Center.
Surry County Health and Nutrition Center clinic hours to receive the vaccine are Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 PM to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.
Flu vaccines are also widely available through doctors’ offices and health departments and is also available at many pharmacies, work places and other locations. Flu season in North Carolina normally peaks in January or February.
More information about flu activity and flu vaccines as well as a convenient flu vaccine finder can be found at flu.nc.gov.
Reach Darcie Dyer at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.