'Worse than usual' flu season expected, doctor says

NC has already seen two adult deaths because of the flu

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It may not feel like flu season, but it’s here.

Novant Health Medical Director Dr. Charles Bregier said they started seeing cases back in September, earlier than last year. Dr. Bregier expects this flu season to be worse than usual.

North Carolina has already seen two adult deaths because of complications from influenza.

“It started early, and also, when it’s bad in Australia and southern Asia it tends to be bad in Europe and North America the following winter,” said Dr. Bregier.

That’s how flu shots are developed in the U.S. Strains of the virus from down under are used to create vaccines here. Of course flue shots aren’t a cure-all. There are hundreds of different strains, and the shot protects people from three or four of the most common strains.

“You have a significantly reduced chance of getting the flue, if you do go ahead and get a flu shot, because you’re at least protected from those prevalent strains,” Dr. Bregier said.

The Centers for Disease Control say the flu shot decreases your chances of getting the flu by 50 to 60 percent.

Also, there is no risk of getting the flu from the actual shot.

“You can not,” Dr. Bregier said. “The flu shot is made from inactivated virus. There’s nothing live in it that can cause any kind of illness.”

The shot is easy to get. It takes just a few minutes, and they’re available at your doctor’s office, urgent care center and even some pharmacies.

Usually it’s fully covered by insurance, but even if it isn’t, the shot costs about $20-$25.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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