RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As expected, flu season is beginning to peak and is widespread in 43 states. There are more than 14,000 cases nationwide each week.
- What are the symptoms of flu?
Flu symptoms include:
- A 100.1 degree Fahrenheit or higher fever
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Tell us about this year’s flu…
Experts say that this year’s strain is the H3N2 virus (also known as the Hong Kong virus)—it is the one that can be quite severe and can be specifically very hard on the very young and very old. We often see more hospitalizations and deaths with this strain. Nationwide there have been 20 flu-related deaths in children. In North Carolina there have been 22 total deaths (21 adults, one child).
This year’s shot is considered to be a good match—its effectiveness rates are estimated to reduce risk for flu requiring medical attention by 50 percent.
- If you have flu what should you do?
Stay at home so that you do not infect others. Rest, drink fluids and take over-the-counter symptomatic therapies for fever and cold symptoms. Contact your doctor because there are prescription medications called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat influenza illness. While they will not cure the flu, they will shorten the duration (by 1 to 2 days) and diminish the severity of symptoms. The very young and the elderly should be followed closely by doctors because they are at highest risk for flu-related complications.
- Is it too late to get the shot?
It is not too late—please get a shot ASAP. Immunity usually follows about 7 to 10 days after immunization. It is also important to practice good hand hygiene (i.e., washing your hands thoroughly and often) to minimize the risk of coming into contact with the flu virus. You should also avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes as much as possible—in order to avoid picking up the virus.