PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - You have one shot to prevent what could be a potentially deadly virus.
"There is no other option that compares with the vaccine in terms of keeping people protected from influenza," explains Dr. John Morrow, the director of the Pitt County Health Department.
Flu cases are on the rise in seven states.
"Virginia to our north, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, all those cities are having a significant outbreak of influenza right now," Morrow explains.
In North Carolina, the outbreak is low, but could quickly jump to widespread flu cases by January as people leave for the holidays to areas where the virus is going around.
"Our typical season is in January and early February, but we have had it come early December, about this time of year, a few years ago, so, it's a good time to go out and get vaccinated," he goes on to say.
Dr. Morrow says so far this year, five people have died in our state, however, there have been no reports in Pitt County.
"I think people forget that influenza is not just a mild cold, it's a serious infection."
To keep it away, getting your shot is the best way to prevent or lessen the effects of the flu.
"It may not prevent you from getting sick at all, but what it does do a much better job of is keeping you from being hospitalized or having severe illness or dying of influenza," the director explains.
Your insurance will cover the cost of the shot, and if you don't have insurance, the health department charges $27.
Young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to the flu.