The annual flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting you and your family from the influenza (flu) virus. Yet, many North Carolinians go the entire flu season — October through May — without getting vaccinated. Enter the Shot Dodgers with their common reasons for skipping the flu vaccine. While these characters dodge the vaccine, they don’t always dodge the flu. And, the flu knocks everyone off their game.
Don’t be a Shot Dodger! Contact your health care provider or visit vaccinefinder.org to find a convenient location to get a flu vaccination near you.
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people — such as older people, young children and people with certain health conditions — are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Seasonal influenza vaccine must be changed each year as the viruses naturally change over time.
To avoid catching the flu, get vaccinated each year and practice good hand hygiene. To avoid giving the flu to others, stay home when you are sick, cough or sneeze into tissues and discard them properly, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an approved hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
During October through May, the N.C. Division of Public Health provides weekly updates on the spread of the influenza in North Carolina.
New Flu Deaths 11/4/18-11/10/18
Total Flu Deaths This Season (9/30/2018-5/18/2019)
*Influenza-associated Deaths –This number is based on reports submitted by providers to the North Carolina Division of Public Health. An influenza-associated death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death (adult or pediatric) resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza by an appropriate laboratory or rapid diagnostic test with no period of complete recovery between the illness and death. Deaths that occurred on or after 9/30/2019 will be reflected in the 2019-20 season.
This section is intended to provide updated information to all North Carolina health care providers and laboratories regarding Influenza.
2018–19 Influenza Season: Update for NC Clinicians (PDF, 830KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18
Infection Control Guidance for NC Clinicians (PDF, 779KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18
Testing Update for NC Clinicians (PDF, 108KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18
Specimen Collection for Influenza Testing at the North Carolina State Laboratory for Public Health (PDF, 96KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18
Treatment Guidance for NC Clinicians (PDF, 143KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18
Surveillance Update for NC Clinicians (PDF, 128KB) - UPDATED 09/28/18
N.C. Memo to Clinicians on Influenza A (H7N9) Virus (PDF, 169KB) - UPDATED 02/08/17
N.C. Avian Flu Guidance (PDF, 139KB) - UPDATED 09/26/16
Influenza A H3N2v Virus Infections: Update for Clinicians (PDF, 274KB) - UPDATED 09/26/16
Yes. There are prescription medications called "antiviral drugs" that can be used to treat influenza illness.
Yes. Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense to treat the flu if you get sick. A flu vaccine is still the first and best way to prevent influenza.
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or an intravenous solution) that fight against the flu in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your doctor or health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.
When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. For people with a high risk medical condition, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having milder illness instead of very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
There are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by CDC this season to treat influenza. The brand names for these are Tamiflu® (generic name oseltamivir), Relenza® (generic name zanamivir), and Rapivab® (generic name peramivir). Tamiflu® is available as a pill or liquid and Relenza® is a powder that is inhaled. (Relenza® is not for people with breathing problems like asthma or COPD, for example.) Rapivab® is administered intravenously by a health care provider.
Yes. Children can take two of the approved antiviral drugs—oseltamivir and zanamivir. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) is recommended by the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for the treatment of influenza in persons aged 2 weeks and older, and for the prevention of influenza in persons aged 3 months and older. Zanamivir (Relenza®) is recommended for the treatment of influenza in persons aged 7 years and older, and for the prevention of influenza in persons aged 5 years and older. Peramivir (Rapivab®) is recommended for use only in adults aged 18 and older.
Yes. Oral oseltamivir is preferred for treatment of pregnant women because it has the most studies available to suggest that it is safe and beneficial.
It’s very important that antiviral drugs are used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at higher risk for flu complications based on their age or underlying medical conditions. Other people also may be treated with antiviral drugs by their doctor this season. Most otherwise-healthy people who get the flu, however, do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that fight against the flu in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your doctor or health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.
Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. CDC urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu).
CDC recommends a three-step approach to fighting influenza (flu). The first and most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease which affects the lungs and can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia. Even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time or even be hospitalized. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.
The purpose of this Toolkit is to help businesses and employers fight the flu and to offer tips and suggestions to consider when planning and responding to the seasonal flu.
Most people who get the flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, are more likely to get flu complications that result in being hospitalized and occasionally result in death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications.
Se recomienda vacunarse contra la influenza una vez al año. Algunos niños de entre 6 meses y 8 años de edad podrían necesitar dos dosis al año.
La influenza es una grave enfermedad contagiosa que puede requerir de hospitalización e incluso provocar la muerte.
Health Education for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community, Interpreters, and Healthcare Professionals.
Deaf Wellness Center, University of Rochester video about flu prevention and treatment.