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Flu season is around the corner, and local health officials say now is the time to get protected.
“The most important thing to remember is that the best way to prevent against the flu and especially the transmission of the flu is through receiving the flu vaccine,” said Sydney Wilkinson, Wilson Medical Center’s infection prevention coordinator.
Flu season typically begins in October and runs through May, with influenza infections spiking in the winter months, officials say.
“While we have seen very few admissions with flu at the hospital at this point, there have been reports of a few cases throughout the state, primarily Influenza A,” Wilkinson said.
She said Wilson Medical Center is already monitoring flu activity and will continue to provide best practices when it comes to flu cases and providing updates when necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months old and older receive a yearly flu vaccine.
“There are multiple resources for people to receive the vaccine including primary care providers and area pharmacies,” Wilkinson said.
The Wilson County Health Department will begin flu shot appointments on Oct. 1. Patients can call 252-237-3141 during business hours to schedule an appointment now.
“Please remember that the other most important way to prevent the transmission of flu and other illnesses is through proper hand-washing with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds or the use of hand sanitizer,” Wilkinson said.
NEW STATE LAW
A new North Carolina law will also go into effect Oct. 1 that will provide children with more access to flu vaccinations. Children 10 and up will be able to get a flu shot directly from a pharmacist without a visit to the doctor. The law also enables pharmacists to give flu shots to children between 6 and 10 years old, as long as they have a prescription from their doctor.
“Any time we have the opportunity to increase access to better health outcomes is excellent,” said Wilson County Health Director Teresa Ellen. “Therefore, anything that can be done to reduce the impact of flu in our community is a step in the right direction.”
OFFICE FLU CLINICS
Wilson County’s Clerk of Superior Court Caroline Quinn knows how important it is to get protected against the flu. Her office recently held a flu shot clinic for Wilson County Courthouse staff.
Bryan Holloman from Thomas Drugs stopped by and gave about 25 flu shots, she said.
“Several years ago, my best friend had cancer and the doctor told her that catching the flu could be fatal to her,” Quinn said. “I do it for her and others who I don’t want to risk contaminating.”