North and South Carolina have had a tough flu season with at least 600 flu-related deaths reported, according to the state health department reports.
Dr. Charles Bregier, a medical director with Novant Health in Charlotte, says this was the worst flu season since the Swine Flu pandemic in 2009-2010.
According to each state’s health department reports, 375 people have died in North Carolina and 255 have died in South Carolina due to the flu.
Notably, this is a 171 percent increase for South Carolina over the last flu season.
Dr. Bregier describes his reason for concern when he said, “Our emergency departments and our urgent care centers were, and our hospitals were, just you know, absolutely overflowing with flu patients and people suffering from complications of the flu.”
Novant Health had a 60 percent increase in positive flu tests this flu season over last year’s flu season.
This year’s flu vaccine was 36 percent effective.
While this seems low, CDC data shows previous years the vaccine ranged from 10 percent effective at its lowest to 60 percent effective at its highest, so it’s a healthy medium.
However, the best way to prevent the flu from spreading is to use a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer frequently to avoid spreading germs.
(Original Article: http://wfae.org/post/flu-deaths-rose-sharply-carolinas#stream/0)