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The Flu: What you need to know from Dr. Campbell

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Twenty-two people have died from the flu in North Carolina, with the most recent death being an infant. Most flu-related deaths are in younger people; however a majority of the deaths in N.C. have been in patients aged 25 to 49.

Flu: Causes and Symptoms

Influenza is caused by infection with the influenza virus. There are several types including Influenza A, Influenza B. H1N1 is the predominant Influenza A viral strain.

All types of flu can cause:

  • Fever
  • Coughing and/or sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Most people recover after about a week without lasting effects.

Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Signs of dehydration, such as feeling dizzy when standing, being unable to urinate, or (in infants) crying without shedding tears
  • Seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)

Is the vaccine for this year effective?

For the most part, medical professionals are seeing a large number of H1N1 cases. The CDC has tested the vaccine against the viral strains that are isolated and has confirmed that the vaccine is a very good match. The vaccine is not 100 percent but can certainly lessen the symptoms and severity if you do contract it.

Too late for a flu shot?

If you have not gotten a flu shot, do so now. It takes a couple of weeks for immunity to build up. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.

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