First Flu-Associated Death of Buncombe County Resident Reported

An illustration of bacteria floating in green goo.

Buncombe County Health and Human Services was recently notified of the first reported flu-associated death of a Buncombe County resident during the 2022–23 flu season. To protect the privacy of the family, no other information will be provided.

“We are saddened to lose a community member to the flu,” said Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County Public Health Director, “We’ve seen lower flu activity in the last couple flu seasons but at this time we have several respiratory illnesses circulating, including influenza. Seasonal flu is serious and can cause illness and even death,” said Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County Public Health Director.

The CDC recommends flu vaccination every year for everyone 6 months and older. In addition to being the best way to prevent infection with the flu, vaccination can also make illness milder for those who do get the flu. Certain groups are at higher risk for serious illness from flu, including children younger than five, pregnant women, people over 65 and those with certain chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease.

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Anyone who thinks they have the flu should contact their doctor right away to see if they need treatment with a prescription antiviral drug. Early treatment with an antiviral drug can help prevent flu infections from becoming more serious. Individuals who feel ill should call ahead before going to a doctor’s office, urgent care or other provider to avoid exposing others. COVID-19 and flu symptoms are similar, so consult with a doctor about getting tested for flu and/or COVID-19. Flu symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough and/or sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

A combined COVID-19 and influenza surveillance summary that includes information on flu-related deaths and activity is posted every Thursday on the NCDHHS website. NCDHHS also provides information on seasonal flu that can be found here.

Public Health Officials urge the community to get vaccinated if you haven’t already taken this step. Flu vaccinations are widely available in the community including private medical offices, pharmacies, health departments, and health centers. Layer up your protection by washing your hands often, choosing less crowded spaces and events, and wearing a mask during times of higher respiratory illness circulation in addition to getting vaccinated.

Don’t let the flu stop you this winter. Check out the flu shot locator page, enter your zip code, and get your flu shot today.

Prepared by Buncombe County Health and Human Services.