First flu-related death of the season reported in North Carolina

The season officially started on Sept. 27 according to health officials
Flu season
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Public health officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the first flu-related death of 2020 on Thursday.

Not many details were released on the person who died. Officials say the adult over the age of 65 and lived in the central part of the state. To protect the privacy of the family, the person's hometown, county, age and gender will not be released.

The flu season comes with COVID-19 cases on the rise again as over the past few weeks. State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, M.D., MPH stresses the importance of being protected during this time of uncertainty. “With flu season starting during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for people to get a flu vaccine this year." The flu vaccine is the best form of prevention against the spread of the illness.

The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccination every year for everyone 6 months and older. It is especially important for those at higher risk of more serious outcomes, such as people over 65 years old, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Some of these same groups are also at high risk of complications from COVID-19.

In North Carolina, the peak of flu season typically hits in January or February. During last season, 186 deaths were reported in the state due to influenza. Down from 208 deaths compared to the previous year.

Flu vaccinations are available at hospitals, pharmacies, private medical offices, some federally qualified health care centers and local health departments. To find a flu vaccine near you, visit vaccinefinder.org/find-vaccine.