From the Buncombe County Health and Human Services Department:
Buncombe County Health and Human Service reports two Buncombe residents who died this week from confirmed cases of influenza. As of 1/24/14, the total number of deaths from flu in North Carolina is 33.
Both of the reported flu deaths in Buncombe occurred in people with chronic illnesses, who were already at greater risk of severe illness or death from flu. One person was between 50-64 years of age and the other was over 65 years of age. Although deaths from flu are unfortunate; it is not uncommon, especially among those with high risk medical conditions.
Statewide flu is now considered to be widespread and levels of flu increased last week after dipping the previous week. Most of the circulating virus is H1N1 and primarily infects young and middle age adults, 25 years and older. The flu outbreak has been linked with more severe illness among pregnant and post-partum women, those with chronic illness such as heart and lung disease, diabetes, as well as those who are morbidly obese. The vaccine continues to be a good match for the circulating strains of flu, which are included in this year’s flu vaccine.
Because we do not know how long the flu season will last or whether flu activity has peaked this season, health officials say it isn’t too late to get a flu vaccine, especially for young people and those with higher risk medical conditions. It takes two weeks after getting a flu vaccine to reach maximum protection.
Health and Human services continues to encourages you to protect yourself and those you care about by following these simple steps to prevent spreading and getting the flu:
• Cover your cough
• Wash your hands
• Stay home if you’re sick
• Get a flu shot
Flu vaccine is available at BC HHS, located at 40 Coxe Ave in downtown Asheville. No appointment is needed, parking is available and we are open M – F, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. No cost flu vaccine is also available for those who qualify based on eligibility.
For more information about the flu vaccine, please call the Flu Hotline at 250-6400 or visit buncombecounty.org/flu for links to flu posters and updates.