| January 19, 2009
It’s not too late to get a flu shot
On Monday, Jan. 5, the Pitt County Memorial Hospital lab reported its
first culture-confirmed influenza A case of the new season. A Pitt
County man in his 40s was seen on Jan. 4 complaining of sudden onset of
fever, dry cough, congestion, back pain and chills.
According to state public health officials, all indicators are that flu
activity is accelerating. Approximately 30 of the 77 health care
providers across the state, who participate in the state’s
Influenza Sentinel Surveillance Program, and hospital emergency
departments reported an increase in flu-like illness earlier this
month, and the State Laboratory of Public Health had confirmed six
cases by Jan. 5.
In North Carolina, flu season normally begins to increase after Christmas and usually peaks in late February or early March.
“The best way to prevent getting—and spreading—the
flu is to get vaccinated,” said State Health Director Dr. Leah
Devlin. “It’s not too late; the flu season is really just
getting started here. Contact your health care provider or local health
department about getting vaccinated.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its
recommendations regarding flu vaccine. The CDC now advises all children
from 6 months through 18 years of age be vaccinated against the flu.
Vaccination is also recommended for any adults who want to protect
themselves from the flu. Adults 50 and older, people with certain
chronic medical conditions such as asthma, household contacts of people
with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, and healthcare workers are
particularly encouraged to get vaccinated.
No flu cases have been confirmed in Dare County as yet, says Anne
Thomas, Director of the Dare County Department of Public Health
(DCDPH). However, with flu season sometimes extending into May, she
advises those who have not gotten a flu shot yet, to get one.
``If you haven’t gotten a flu vaccination at this point, getting
vaccinated now can still provide you protection from the flu for the
remainder of the flu season,’’ advises Thomas. ``Vaccine is
The DCDPH has scheduled two flu vaccination clinics. Flu vaccinations
will be available for adults by appointment only at the locations
• Baum Senior Center – Kill Devil Hills.
Friday, Jan. 23, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
• Dare County Department of Public Health – Manteo. Tuesday, Jan. 27, 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Please call the Dare County Department of Public Health Flu Line at
475-5003 starting Tuesday, January 20 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. to
schedule an appointment for either location.
The cost of the shot is $32 payable by cash, check, Medicare, Medicaid or Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Besides getting a flu shot, individuals can take other actions to stop the spread of the flu and other respiratory diseases:
• Cover coughs and sneezes.
• Use tissues and throw them away after each use.
• Wash hands often.
• If flu symptoms are present, stay home.
For more information about the flu or flu vaccinations, contact Cathi
Ostrander, Clinic Operations Supervisor for DCDPH at 475-5025.
Children’s flu clinic scheduled
Dare County Department of Public Health has scheduled a flu vaccination
clinic for children. Free flu vaccinations will be available for
children from ages 6 months through 18 years of age by appointment only
at the Dare County Youth Center on Mustain Trail in Kill Devil Hills on
Jan. 31 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Parents or guardians should call
the Flu Line at 475-5003 starting Monday, Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. to schedule appointments.
The Dare County Department of
Public Health is recommending annual influenza vaccinations for
children ages 6 months through 18 years of age. Again, there is no cost
for children’s flu vaccine at this time.
For more information
about the flu or flu vaccination, contact the Dare County Department of
Public Health at 475-5003 or visit www.cdc.gov.