CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Flu season is starting to take off in the Carolinas.
According to our sister station WLTX, South Carolina health officials confirmed the first flu-related death in the state for the 2019 flu season.
The first flu-related death in North Carolina was reported by health officials last week.
Dr. Rhonda Patt, a pediatrician with Atrium Health Levine Children’s Charlotte Pediatric Clinic South Park, said cases in the Charlotte area are starting to pick up.
"There are cases reported,” Patt said. “We have certainly not seen the peak, and we don't have any predictions right now for when the peak will happen."
North and South Carolina are reporting sporadic flu activity. The deaths are now putting doctors on alert that flu season is here.
"What it does tell us is that the flu is going around,” Patt said, “and that there's a chance that this strain is going to be particularly virulent."
With lots of little ghouls and goblins out for Halloween, Patt said parents should take some extra precautions.
"Have them wash their hands,” Patt said. “It's a good idea to inspect the candy that they have, not just for preventing the flu, but just making sure that the wrappers are intact and they're not expired."
While the weather outside is expected to be frightful for trick-or-treating, Patt said the cold weather and rain doesn’t cause a cold or the flu. She does caution parents to keep children home if they are already sick.
"Don't go out trick-or-treating because that will just spread their germs to other children,” Patt said.
Doctors are still encouraging everyone to go ahead and get the flu vaccine before the peak of flu season. Patt said it is still a person’s best defense against fighting the virus.