Flu season is off to its earliest start in almost a decade, and that could signal rough days ahead. North Carolina has seen a high number of doctor visits for flu-like symptoms in late November, months earlier than usual, and that has federal health officials warning that we could be entering the worst flu season in several years. Worse still: A particularly unpleasant flu strain, H3N2, is at the forefront this season.
North Carolina recently suffered its first two flu deaths this year, one of which was a Piedmont adult who had no pre-existing medical conditions that would indicate that they were at high risk for flu complications. The person had not received a flu vaccine.
The Buncombe County Department of Health strongly recommends that anyone 6 months of age and above who has not yet received a flu vaccine be vaccinated now. Vaccines are available from the Department of Health at no cost to those 6 months of age and above that do not have health insurance.
Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with a chronic illness should be especially vigilant about getting a flu vaccine because they are more likely to experience complications from flu. It's equally important that children in childcare and school have the vaccine since they are most likely to get and spread the illness.
Flu vaccines are available at:
Department of Health and Human Services building
40 Coxe Avenue, Asheville (across the street from the bus terminal and post office)
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (No appointment is necessary.)
Buncombe County Human Services West
339 Leicester Hwy, Asheville
Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursdays from 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon
Black Mountain Methodist Church
101 Church St., Black Mountain
1st and 3rd Monday of each month from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Remember - the most important thing you can do besides getting a flu shot is to wash your hands often. After washing, use a towel to turn off the water and open the door to avoid picking up germs from others.
For more information about the flu, please visit the Buncombe County Flu website at www.buncombecounty.org/flu. You may also want to visit the CDC’s Influenza website or the US Department of Health and Human Services website.
Find other locations to get a flu shot here.