With January in the rearview mirror, the flu appears be winding down in Sampson County, a welcome change after a fierce start to this year’s flu season back in October.
According to Monie Spell, RN, Infection Control Coordinator at Sampson Regional Medical Center, the flu is decreasing.
In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported that North Carolina is now in the moderate to low category which is quite an improvement from a few weeks ago when the state was considered to be in the widespread category.
Laurie Smith, RN, director of SRMC’s Emergency Department, adds, “We have defintely seen fewer patients with flu-related symptoms, and the Emergency Department volumes are beginning to stablilize.”
Since Jan. 1, the hospital has seen 44 positive influenza cases, and they were not all of the same strain, according to Ann Cortes, director of SRMC’s Laboratory and Blood Bank. Thirty-eight were type A while only six were type B. Prior to the start of the new year, the hospital saw only two other type B influenza cases; all the rest were type A.
Although the flu is no longer the threat that it was, Spell still thinks it is as good a time as any to be vaccinated. “I still encourage people to get the flu vaccine. It’s not too late. Sometimes the flu will continue on into April or May.”
Kathie Johnson, Communicable Disease nurse with the Sampson County Health Department, echoes Spells’ advice. “Oh yes, I still think people should get the flu vaccine because flu season usually doesn’t peak until late February or early March. We’ve already had an exceptionally bad season and you can still run the risk of getting the flu, especially without the vaccine.”
Since the start of the flu season, the Health Department has administered over a thousand vaccines, and Johnson says that there are still a few shots left. “We do have some flu vaccines still available and they’re free.”
To contact the Health Department about flu vaccines, call 592-1131.
Flu shots are also still available at Clinton Urgent Care. For information, call 592-9113.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 123 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.