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Now is the time to get a flu vaccine

Smoky Mountain Times - 11/2/2017

Flu season comes around every year, making us often underestimate the severity of the virus. But anyone who has recently battled with the flu can attest prevention should be taken seriously.

Health officials are anticipating it could be a bad flu season based on the Southern Hemisphere, particularly Australia, being hit hard during their flu season.

Just last year, nearby Graham County Schools were closed for at least two days because of a flu outbreak. Similarly, Swain County Schools suffered extremely low attendance because of having so many students out sick.

Flu pandemics, which happen irregularly and on a large scale, can lead to widespread death. The worst recorded flu pandemic in modern history was the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic that was estimated to be responsible for the deaths of approximately 50-100 million people.

So far, there are no flu deaths this season in North Carolina. According to data collected by North Carolina Department of Public Health, often there are two spikes of outbreaks in the state, one in mid-December and another in February. Last year, there were a total of 219 deaths in the state associated with influenza. Nationwide, the US Centers for Disease Control reports a total of 616 confirmed cases for Influenza A and 282 cases for Influenza B.

Health officials recommend getting a flu vaccine at the beginning

of the season as the best prevention, as well as washing your hands.

Those who are already sick are discouraged from going out into public places and told to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and wash their hands.

Physicians with American Family Care advice adding the following five immune boosting foods to your grocery list: garlic, chicken soup, fish, whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

The Swain County Health Department has flu vaccines available for $30. The office is located at 545 Center Street and office hours are 7:45 a.m.-4:45 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Also in Bryson City, Walgreen's Pharmacy is offering flu vaccines, with prices varying depending on insurance.

For more information about prevention, visit flu.nc.gov or www.cdc.gov/flu or contact your local health department at 488-3198.


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