18 new flu deaths reported in NC; total climbs to 253

- The NC Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday that North Carolina saw 18 new flu deaths last week, bringing the total to 253 for the season

The World Health Organization estimates the annual epidemic results in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness globally and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths.

This year’s flu season ranks among the most severe in recent years.

We‘re in the middle of a nationwide flu epidemic and I’m asking North Carolinians to do their part to stay healthy and stop the flu from spreading,” Gov. Cooper said this year. “There are a few simple actions we can all take to fight the flu: get your flu shot if you haven’t already, wash your hands and cover sneezes and coughs, and stay home from work or school if you get the flu.”

Related: 6-year-old NC girl dies just days after flu diagnosis 

State epidemiologists report that influenza activity remained widespread during the week ending Feb. 3. Flu-associated deaths reported since Oct. 1 include 97 who were 65 or older, 33 ages 50-64, six ages 25-49, three ages 5-17 and one younger than five.

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

It is not too late in the season to get a flu shot. The flu season can run into May.

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