Last updated: January 03. 2014 5:44PM - 505 Views
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LAURINBURG — As North Carolina’s flu season becomes increasingly deadly, more than 1,000 people have stopped at a Laurinburg pharmacy to get the vaccine that can prevent fever, chills and body aches associated with the virus — as well as serious complications that can occur as a result.

Thirteen people in the state have died from the flu, with five deaths occurring last week, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

“The flu in North Carolina seems to be widespread,” said Karen Gainey, spokesperson for Scotland Memorial Hospital. “We have done about 300 flu tests and about 20 have come back positive.”

Community Drug is currently out of flu shots, having dispensed 550. Medical Village Pharmacy and the Medicine Shoppe have vaccinated about 200 people each, and Scotland Community Health Clinic has provided 80 vaccines.

Of the 13 flu deaths in the state, all but one person was younger than age 65. Seven were between 25 and 49; five were between 50 and 64. Typically, children under 2, pregnant women, and people with asthma, diabetes and heart disease are the most at risk of complications.

Meanwhile, at least three hospitals have joined Duke University Health Systems in limiting visitors until the flu abates. Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill and Mission Health in Asheville announced restrictions Thursday.

Gainey said Scotland Memorial has not implemented any restrictions because of the virus, but may consider limiting visitors in the weeks ahead if the virus continues to spread.

Symptoms of the flu include a fever of 100 degrees or higher, although not everyone with the flu has a fever, as well as a cough or sore throat, aches and pains, fatigue and nausea. Seek medical attention if shortness of breath, pain the chest or abdomen, dizziness, confusion or persistent vomiting occur.

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