Flu peak season approaches in the Carolinas

Outbreaks of both seasonal and H1N1 flu cases are not considered widespread in the state at the moment, but with the peak of the season on the way that could change. An outbreak of both strains of the flu occurred early in the season in October when many vaccines were still on their way to the area.

With two strains of flu – seasonal and H1N1 or swine flu – circulating this year, health insurance experts say area residents should still consider getting a flu vaccine from health departments, hospitals, pharmacies or physicians’ offices. Many are hosting vaccine clinics at their facilities or area retailers such as shopping malls in the coming weeks, and the H1N1 vaccine is free at many places with or without North Carolina health insurance or South Carolina health insurance.

Since Sept. 1, state officials have recorded 931 hospitalizations, including 16 people hospitalized last week with the flu, and 42 deaths across the Carolinas.Health officials will monitor flu outbreaks closely in the coming weeks because there is a concern that an H1N1 outbreak could occur in the spring.

In South Carolina, over 2 million doses of H1N1 vaccines have come in. Getting the vaccine before the peak of the season will protect residents more effectively than if they wait, officials say.

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