Brunswick County Leaders Urge Citizens to Be Proactive in Wake of Influenza Deaths

01.22.2018

Leaders in Brunswick County are uniting their efforts to fight a common enemy—the flu! As the number of new cases of influenza virus continue to grow in Brunswick County and across North Carolina, leaders in Brunswick County are working with the public health department to encourage people to take steps to avoid catching the flu and avoid giving it to others.

Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Les Tubb receives a flu shot from Brunswick Health Services staff, while Brunswick County Health Director Cris Harrelson looks on.

“We want to lead by example and show our students, teachers and BCS family how important it is to do everything possible to prevent the spread of the flu,” said Les Tubb, Superintendent of Brunswick County Schools. “We are utilizing educational resources in our schools to help students and staff avoid catching the flu, and we hope parents will take similar steps at home.”

“We are taking the flu epidemic very seriously at Brunswick Community College and are asking students, faculty and staff to be mindful of the steps to take to avoid the spread of the flu,” said Dr. Susanne Adams, Brunswick Community College President. “The College offered flu shots to all employees in October and provides hand washing stations throughout the campus. Supervisors and faculty are encouraged to work with those employees and students who present symptoms. Finally, campus message screens display best practices to avoid catching or spreading the flu virus. We hope these measures with encourage the members of our campus community to respect their personal health and the health of others.”

The number of influenza cases across the state have started to rise in December and have continued to rise since the beginning of the year. According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, there have been 42 flu deaths in NC this season. This serves as a reminder that flu can be a serious illness, especially for adults over age 65, children under five, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

“The best thing you can do to avoid catching the flu is to practice good hand hygiene and get a flu shot,” said Cris Harrelson, Brunswick County Health Director. “It’s not too late. Getting vaccinated now may help protect you through the rest of the season.”

Flu symptoms may include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. If you are not feeling well or have an allergy, talk to your doctor about your symptoms or allergy; they may not preclude you from getting vaccinated. People experiencing symptoms should stay home or seek medical care as necessary. Your family doctor may prescribe antiviral medication that can lessen the symptoms and shorten the length of the illness.

Use precautions to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses, including:

  • Getting a flu shot
  • Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly
  • If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it takes approximately 2 weeks after receiving the vaccination for it to become effective against the included flu strains and that if you are not feeling well, you need to speak with your doctor before receiving a flu shot.

CDC also suggests that the emergency rooms should be used for people who are very sick and that you should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill. If you have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room. If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at high risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice. If you go to the emergency room and you are not sick with the flu, you may catch it from people who do have it. If you have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room.

What are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness?

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

  • Being unable to eat
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has no tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

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