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Governor Bev Perdue Encourages More North Carolinians to Protect Themselves From Flu

October Marks Start of Flu Season

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
For Release: Immediate
Date: October 01, 2012
Contact: Julie Henry, 919-368-04840

RALEIGH – As flu season officially begins, Governor Bev Perdue is encouraging all North Carolinians to protect themselves by getting vaccinated. Although North Carolina is above the national average for flu vaccine coverage, less than half of all North Carolinians over 6 months of age got their vaccines last flu season. That’s according to statistics from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

“There is no reason for anyone to suffer with flu this season,” said Gov. Perdue. “Many employers, including state government, are offering flu vaccinations to their employees, and our local health departments and doctors’ offices are working hard to get vaccine out to anyone who needs it.”

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has distributed more than 418,000 doses of flu vaccine to local health departments and health care providers across the state.

“We already have seen a few cases of seasonal flu this fall, so it is not too early to protect yourself,” State Health Director Laura Gerald said. “We know that annual vaccination is the best defense against flu and this year’s vaccine appears to be a good match to the strains we expect to see this season.”

While even healthy people can develop serious complications from the flu, young children, pregnant women, people over 65 years old, and those with chronic health conditions are generally at higher risk. Each year, as many as 49,000 people across the country die from flu complications. In addition to vaccination, Dr. Gerald also recommends:

  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discarding the tissue promptly.
  • Washing hands frequently, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer.
  • Staying home when you are sick until you are fever free for at least 24 hours.

DHHS has ordered more than 600,000 doses of vaccine to provide to local health departments and health care providers participating in the Vaccines for Children Program, college students, and those in contact with infants under the age of 6 months – such as child care providers. In addition, most insurance plans cover flu shots and many local community organizations and pharmacies offer or sponsor flu clinics.

Flu immunizations are recommended for anyone over 6 months of age and are available as:

  • Nasal sprays for healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant;
  • Regular flu shots for children older than 6 months and adults;
  • Intradermal flu shots for people 18 to 64 years of age. These shots are injected into the skin instead of the muscle and use smaller needles than regular flu shots; and,
  • High-dose flu shots for people 65 and older.

For more information on flu and to find out where you can get a flu vaccination in your community, visit www.flu.nc.gov.

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