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Flu Season
people NHRMC Provides Facts, Prepares Public for Flu Season



ith flu season upon us, it's important to know the facts on flu to protect yourself, your family and loved-ones. But just what to know may not be as easy as you think.

Fortunately for residents of southeastern North Carolina and beyond, New Hanover Regional Medical Center is home to a team of flu experts, including Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Paul Kamitsuka and NHRMC's Infection, Prevention and Control Department. Together, they work year-round in collaboration with various local and state public health agencies to safeguard the public from influenza and other illnesses of concern to our community; in fact, NHRMC is so committed to fighting flu and safeguarding the public,s health that it has made flu vaccinations mandatory for all its employees. Below, NHRMC's flu experts give their top three recommendations on how to prepare for flu season and how best to protect yourself from this potentially fatal condition.


Educate Yourself
Know that influenza, or flu virus, is spread person to person mainly by infected droplets expelled from the mouth and nose when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Flu can be spread up to six feet away. Less frequently, a person might contract flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Flu is contagious and can include the following symptoms: Fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu generally lasts five to seven days but may last longer, with symptoms starting one to four days after the virus enters the body. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, these people may still spread the virus to others.

Flu is serious business: Almost 40,000 people die from flu-related illnesses annually, with more than 100,000 hospitalized. The annual cost of flu in terms of medical costs is $10 billion annually.

Flu IQ
Each year, flu causes more than 100,000 people to be hospitalized.

Contact your primary care provider to get your annual flu vaccination.  Flu vaccinations are also available at the New Hanover County Health Department by calling 798.6646.


Hand WashingWash Your Hands
Frequent hand washing or use of approved antiseptic hand gels, sprays or foams is the best way to prevent the spread of flu. When washing your hands, do so for a period of at least 15 seconds using soap and warm water.

Other prevention measures include covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. In the absence of a tissue, you can cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth and limiting contact with those who may have flu or flu symptoms will also help prevent flu.

If you have the flu, medical experts recommend you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Children with flu may require a longer period of recovery before returning to school or child care.


Get Vaccinated
Contrary to popular belief, getting vaccinated for the flu will not give you the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the most important step in protecting against influenza. All persons six months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu unless they have a medical contraindication such as egg allergy. Children younger than six months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

Vaccination is particularly important for high risk groups: Young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 50 years and older. Vaccination is also important for healthcare workers and for people who live with or care for high risk people to prevent them from spreading flu to those who are vulnerable to serious complications.

"Everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu unless thay have a medical contraindication such as eff allergy."

Dr. Paul Kamitsuka
Infectious Disease Specialist
NHRMC Hospital Epidemiologist



Jack Barto

NHRMC President and CEO Jack Barto recently received his flu vaccination from Employee Health Manager Jerry Burleson.  A yearly flu vaccination is the most important step in protecting against influenza, or flu virus.

Help Protect Our Patients - NHRMC's Flu Visitation Policy

NHRMCTo protect our patients, their families and our staff, visitors with active flu symptoms will not be permitted to visit patients at NHRMC until 48 hours after symptoms are gone. Occasionally, NHRMC will implement further flu restrictions to safeguard the well-being of our patients. When implemented, visitation guidelines will be changed to meet the specifics of that flu season.

For more information on the flu, visit

2131 S. 17th Street, Wilmington, NC 28401  |  910.343.7000