North Carolina reported two new flu-related deaths of the season Thursday, bringing the state’s total to five deaths since October.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said the two deaths happened between Nov. 19 and Nov. 25 and involved people who were 65 years or older. The agency does not disclose the precise age, gender, hometown or other particulars of flu deaths to protect patient privacy.
Officials in Wake, Durham and Johnston counties said they have had no flu-related deaths this flu season.
North Carolina reported 219 flu deaths in the 2016-17 flu season, mostly among the elderly.
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The flu season begins Oct. 1 and runs through May. People most vulnerable to flu complications are infants and children up to age 5, and people 65 and older, as well as pregnant women. Flu complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections; it can also make asthma and congestive heart disease conditions worse.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge flu vaccinations for everyone 6 months and older with rare exceptions. The group recommends injections over nasal sprays, which the CDC has not recommended for the past two years because of lower effectiveness. People aged 65 and above are urged to get a high dose of the flu vaccine.