Durham flu cases starting to rise

Dec. 10, 2013 @ 04:06 PM

The number of flu cases in Durham has been low so far but is beginning to increase, health officials said Tuesday.

“Flu season typically peaks during January and February, so if you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine yet this season, you should get one now,” Susan Thompson, communicable disease program manager at the Durham County Department of Public Health, said.
The number of flu cases reported in Durham was unavailable, but Thompson said the total has been low in the Bull City and across the state so far. However, she said they’re “beginning to trend upward.”
Three flu-related deaths have been reported elsewhere in North Carolina this season.
State health officials haven’t identified the counties where the victims lived, but Thompson said they were from the Charlotte and Triad areas and eastern North Carolina.
They were middle-aged adults who were at increased risk for complications because of underlying medical conditions, she said. All died after testing positive for Influenza A, one of the main types of flu responsible for seasonal epidemics each year.
In Durham, the Health Department’s Immunization Clinic has given 1,736 flu shots since it kicked off its flu vaccination campaign in September. Flu shots are the most effective treatment against the flu, and the current vaccine protects against strains circulating this year, including H1N1, Thompson said.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop that protect against the flu.
The clinic offers flu shots on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. The cost is $29, or $31 for flu nasal spray. Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance are now accepted.
In addition to getting vaccinated, Durham health officials encourage everyone to follow these precautions:
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and discard it promptly.
- Wash hands often, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer.
- Stay home when you’re sick until you’re fever-free for at least 24 hours.

FLU SHOTS

For more flu shot information, call the health department’s immunization clinic at 919-560-7608 or visit the clinic at 414 E. Main St. in Durham.